According to a study by Kaspersky Lab, people are still recklessly sharing private information over the Internet in risky situations. Locally, 32% of people share confidential data by accident and 19% willingly disclose secrets about themselves – despite the fact that information shared online can cost them a relationship or a job.
Turns out that many people greatly risk sharing personal data through online communication channels, in the dangerous online environment. This might include: a photo of themselves (59%), their contact details (66%), a photo of another person (39%), sensitive personal details (46%) and work-related data (37%) online. Further, and potentially even more seriously, 18% have shared a secret about themselves and 18% shared sensitive financial details.
This is despite the fact that a lot of people are highly worried about the damaging impact of such information being made public – both in terms of financial loss and emotional distress. For instance, nearly half (46%) of respondents locally worried that it could damage relationships or embarrass or offend someone and 25% was afraid that it could harm their career.
This level of concern is often justified. 32% admitted they have accidentally shared confidential data and 11% have suffered as a result. Of those that suffered, the consequences included losing friends, being bullied, suffering financial loss, the end of a relationship and being dismissed from their job.
Commenting on the findings, David Emm, Principal Security Researcher from Kaspersky Lab says, “Many consumers still struggle to translate risk awareness into caution when it comes to online activity. With so many devices and online channels at our fingertips it’s never been easier to post an unguarded message or accidentally share information with the wrong people. If you are not cyber savvy enough, and you don’t have the proper security and privacy safeguards in place, you could be left with shattered friendships and careers. Once it’s online it’s there forever – so if in doubt, keep it to yourself. ”
Knowing about possible risks users can face on the Internet and taking precautions or measures to keep online activities and information safe is crucial nowadays.