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Dating Dangers as Valentine's Day Generates Fraud

BitDefender UK : 09 February, 2010  (Technical Article)
BitDefender is giving advice in the run-up to Valentine's Day concerning the risk of becoming a victim of fraud as well as other on-line dangers
Online daters are warned about the increased security risks of identity theft and scams associated with using the Internet when looking for love. "While there are many respectable and reliable e-dating services, online daters should be extremely careful when choosing the best service to meet their needs," says BitDefender UK Managing Director, Nick Billington.

Before subscribing, users should always search for positive testimonials and Website reviews, as well as the advice from a trustworthy person who has already used the service. BitDefender also advises against subscribing to a dating service discovered via spam e-mails, which could result in identity theft or becoming the recipient of additional spam.

Online daters should only use sites with explicit privacy policies, ensuring that their anonymity will be protected and no private information will be revealed without their consent. They can keep safe by supplying as little detail as possible and using nicknames or aliases instead of real names.

Another precaution is to use an alternative email account, ensuring the security of any personal account and work information. Do not reveal sensitive private data such as home or work addresses, phone numbers or National Insurance numbers.

"Even the most trivial information — like your mother's maiden name or first pet's name — can be exploited by cybercriminals. Many of these details may seem unimportant, but they can serve as password recovery hints for email addresses or online banking accounts. Moreover, online daters must be careful never to share financial data, such as bank accounts, credit card numbers or PINs," added Billington.

Additional e-threats this Valentine's Day may also include:

* Graffiti and other types of spam distributed via social networks, which direct to malicious websites that spread Trojans, rogue antivirus, key loggers and other types of malware.

* Email spam exploiting Valentine's Day to advertise goods and services.

* Email attachments attempting to deliver different breeds of malware under the innocent cover of a short, funny movie (which requires a special codec to be played), slide show or e-card.

BitDefender offers the following additional tips to keep computers and personal information safe:

* Don't open e-mail from unknown sources. Many viruses spread via email messages, so always ask for a confirmation from the sender if you are in doubt.

* Don't open attachments in emails with suspicious subject lines right away. Instead, save them to your hard disk and scan them with an updated antivirus program.

* Delete any chain emails or unwanted messages. Don't forward them or reply to their senders. These kinds of messages are considered spam because they're unsolicited and can overload Web traffic.

* Update your system and applications as often as possible. Some operating systems and applications can be set to update automatically. Make full use of this feature. Failure to patch your system often may leave it vulnerable to threats.

* Don't copy any file from a source you don't know or trust. Check the source of files you download and make sure that an antimalware program has already verified the files at their source.

* Use an integrated security solution that includes antimalware, antispam and firewall, as well as advanced features, such as Web Filtering and Identity Protection.

BitDefender will be participating at Infosecurity Europe 2010, the No. 1 industry event in Europe held on 27th - 29th April in its new venue Earl's Court, London. The event provides an unrivalled free education programme, exhibitors showcasing new and emerging technologies and offering practical and professional expertise.

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