Online Dating Risks Exposed: Kaspersky Survey Reveals Alarming Rise in Online Stalking

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Online Dating Risks Exposed: Kaspersky Survey Reveals Alarming Rise in Online Stalking

| Updated: February 15, 2024 15:49

In today’s digital age, the quest for love has led to an increase in online daters sharing more of their lives on the internet. However, this has also led to a rise in online stalking, a fact that is now quantified by a recent survey conducted by Kaspersky. The study, conducted across 21 countries, sheds light on the risks faced by individuals in the world of online dating.

The study, which interviewed 1,000 people in each country, including India, reveals that while online daters are eager to protect themselves, a significant number have experienced troubling incidents. Shockingly, nearly a quarter of respondents (23 per cent) reported experiencing some form of online stalking from someone they were newly dating. This highlights the alarming rise in stalking and abuse, with concerns ranging from location settings to oversharing of personal information.

The situation in India is particularly concerning, with over half (54 per cent) of respondents reporting some form of violence or abuse from a current or previous partner. This underscores the urgent need for enhanced safety measures in the online dating sphere.

The study further reveals troubling statistics: 27 per cent of respondents have received unwanted emails or messages, while 23 per cent have been filmed or photographed without their consent. Additionally, 24 per cent admitted to having their location tracked, 18 per cent experienced hacking of their social media accounts or emails, and 22 per cent had stalkerware installed on their devices without consent. Particularly alarming is the fact that 21 per cent of women respondents in India reported having their social media and email accounts hacked into by a past partner.

The fear of online stalking looms large, with 21 per cent of respondents expressing concern about being stalked online. Female respondents, in particular, are slightly more apprehensive about this prospect than males.

Another troubling revelation is the prevalence of stalkerware, with 26 per cent of male respondents and 24 per cent of female respondents admitting to installing such software on their partners’ devices. This invasive practice highlights the need for greater awareness and action to combat digital abuse.

Adrian Hia, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky, stated that stalkerware poses a serious threat that demands immediate action. “This insidious tool fuels harmful behaviour, and Kaspersky is tackling it head on. We will continue to raise awareness, share expertise, and collaborate with partners from public and private sectors. It is our unwavering mission to equip victims with knowledge and guide them towards the safest path, ultimately reversing the tide against digital abuse,” he said.

Globally, the situation isn’t any better, especially in parts of South and Central America. In Mexico, a whopping 38 per cent of people reported experiencing some form of online stalking, while in Argentina, it’s 36 per cent. The problem isn’t confined to the Americas though; it’s also on the rise across the Asia Pacific region. Here, the numbers are pretty close to what we’re seeing in the Americas. About 28 per cent of folks in Asia Pacific have dealt with online stalking from someone they were dating, while in the Americas, it’s slightly higher at 31 per cent.

Among the countries surveyed in Asia Pacific, India takes the lead in online stalking issues, with a significant 42 per cent of respondents reporting experiencing it. Malaysia follows with 30 per cent, and Singapore with 27 per cent.

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