Netizens warned: Online oversharing is dangerous

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - June 8, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines - Heavy users of social media, especially the younger bunch, are warned to slow down and manage what they share in social networks as this could pose risks given the fragile cyber-environment.

A study recently released by cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab came just in time as  one of the largest financial institutions was recently hit by cyber-glitch.

The survey however, made special mention of the younger generation netizens as they have become comfortable in sharing information, including personal data online, even to strangers.

The survey says the habit of sharing personal information online is rampant among younger generation, and they should be warned about this.

Worryingly, almost half (44 percent) of Internet users make their information public, but once data has gone into the public domain, it can travel far beyond the control of its owners.

One-in-five people admit that they share sensitive data with people they don’t know well, and with strangers, limiting their ability to control how their sensitive information will be used.

Thus, people are exposing themselves to identity theft or financial attack by sharing financial and payment details (37 percent), scans of their passports, driving licenses and other personal documents (41 percent) or passwords (30 percent).

The findings are part of Kaspersky Lab’s My Precious Data: Stranger Danger report into people’s data sharing habits.

The research further found that people are not just sharing data, they are also sharing devices that store their precious data.

In fact, one-in-ten or 10 percent have shared the PIN for accessing their device with a stranger and one-in-five or 22 percent have left their devices unlocked and unsupervised among a group of people.

Furthermore, 23 percent have allowed other people to use their gadgets for a short span of time.

“Over-sharing personal data with people and companies is really a dangerous habit to get into,” said Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.

"In today’s online world, sharing information with others has never been easier and, in many ways, that’s what the internet was created for. But by disclosing important and sensitive information with other people at the push of a button, you relinquish control over it, because you can’t be sure where that data is going, and how it will be used. Users are literally putting their precious data, and even the devices that store it, in the hands of others," Mochola added.

The study furthermore shows that young people are the most likely to share private and sensitive photos of themselves with others – 61 percent  of those aged 16-24 admit to this form of sharing, compared to just 38 percent of the over 55s.

This pattern also extends to financial information, with two-fifths of young people sharing their financial and payment details (42 percent of 16-24 year olds) with others, compared to just 27 percent of 55+ year olds.

“While it’s completely unrealistic to expect internet users to stop sharing photos, personal details and other information with each other, we do urge people to think twice before they share important information publicly online. We also encourage all Internet users to put safety measures in place to protect their data, and their privacy, should their devices or data fall into the wrong hands,” Mochola warned. (FREEMAN)

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