How online sharing could wreck your relationship, career

Online dating. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Online dating. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – A significant percentage of South Africans are sharing information online that could lead to the destruction of relationships and careers, a survey has found.

According to Kaspersky Lab, 32% of locals share confidential information by accident, and 19% deliberately disclose secrets that could have a damaging impact on relationships or employment.

“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,” said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

Some people (59%) reveal personal photographs, but 66% reveal their contact details and 46% reveal sensitive personal details, the survey found.

Sharing this kind of information could make you a target for cyber crooks employing convincing phishing techniques and in companies, you could be the target of a whaling attack, security company Mimecast warned.

Emotional distress

READ: How ransomware has cost Fin24 users thousands

“Spear phishing and whaling attacks are so effective because they target named individuals within an organisation. Often, they appear to come from a trusted colleague. Whaling in particular is the result of careful social engineering,” said managing director Brandon Bekker.

Kaspersky said that despite 46% of South Africans being worried about the financial loss or emotional distress caused by unintentionally sharing sensitive information, 32% admitted to sharing this 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,” said Kaspersky Lab.

A global survey commissioned by the Centre for International Governance Innovation found that 57% of people were more concerned about their online privacy than in 2015, and just 38% trust that their internet activities were not being monitored.

Cyber criminals can use personal information to infiltrate computer systems to install malicious software, harvest financial data and conduct fraud.

READ: 10 tips to help you beat ransomware

“Many consumers still struggle to translate risk awareness into caution when it comes to online activity. 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,” said Emm.

Kaspersky Lab has developed a cyber savvy test to check your level of cyber security awareness.

Have you ended relationships or lost jobs due to unwitting information sharing? Let us know

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1591 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2083 votes
My finances have been devastated
35% - 3123 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2255 votes