The internet is, in the main, an extremely positive tool; however, it can have some downsides, particularly when it reveals information about one’s personal life. Dating can be tricky, and many people will have experienced at least one relationship they would rather forget, which explains why one in four Brits want to see their romantic pasts removed from the web.
New data from a study commissioned* by cybersecurity company NordVPN has found that one in four of the people surveyed (25%) wanted no trace of their romantic/dating past available on the web, while 22% were concerned that hackers could get hold of information about their sex life.
To ensure a clean break can be made from their historical romantic baggage, 12% even said they were prepared to give up sex in exchange for having their online presence removed.
The news comes as more than a third of Brits (37%) feel that dating apps should not share information with third parties — with one in eight (13%) who have used them revealing that they found it hard to delete their account.
An estimated 20 million adults in the UK have an online dating profile or have used one in the past.
According to visitor figures, the world’s most popular dating site is Badoo.com, which has more than 100 million monthly visits on average, followed by Tinder and Plenty of Fish.
Developer information from the Badoo mobile app shows that user IDs, approximate locations, phone numbers, and app activity can all be collected for marketing purposes.
Of those surveyed who dated online, one in six (16%) reported receiving more spam emails after signing up for a dating app.
NordVPN’s research also showed that 2.5 million Brits had been victims of romance or phishing scams while looking for love.
Marijus Briedis, Chief Technology Officer at NordVPN, said, “With millions of people looking for love online and sharing their lives on social media, romantic baggage now usually comes with a digital footprint.
“This research reveals how much people are concerned about their information being available on the web and the possibility of being found — or exploited — by others.
“It’s important to remember when registering with a company’s dating app or website that each swipe left or right typically comes at a cost. Even if you’re not paying a subscription fee, there is usually a trade-off where you are consenting to share some personal data in exchange for using their service.
“And whether you’re on a dating site or not, good online habits are vital to safeguard your data and stay safe. Using more sophisticated passwords, anti-virus tools, and virtual private networks will drastically reduce your chances of being targeted by cybercriminals.”
NordVPN recommends the following steps to stay safe online:
Use strong passwords. Take advantage of advanced features in computers and mobile phones that suggest strong passwords for you. The NordPass tool also generates and stores complex passwords.
Encrypt your files. Even if someone got hold of your files, they would not be able to access them.
Use common sense. Don’t click on suspicious links or ads, and avoid opening suspicious messages or websites. Do not give out personal data to people or companies you don’t know.
Keep your social accounts private. Make your social media pages visible only to people you know and trust.
Do not share your personal information. Keep details like your phone number or home address out of the public eye.
Use a VPN service. It will encrypt your traffic, and hackers won’t be able to see what you do online. A VPN is essential if you use public Wi-Fi or share sensitive files over the internet.
*Surveys conducted of 1,000 adults and 2,000 adults conducted by Cint and Opinium.
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