BitDefender®, an award-winning provider of innovative anti-malware security solutions, today cautioned online daters about the increased security risks associated with looking for love online this year and their unique susceptibility to identity theft and online scams.

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. Before subscribing, users should always search for positive testimonials and Website reviews, as well as the advice of 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.

“Finding the perfect match on Valentine’s Day via an online dating service sounds like a dream come true, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare,” said Catalin Cosoi, BitDefender’s senior antispam researcher. “To avoid falling victim to cybercrimes, onlinedaters 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.”

Starting out with an online dating service, users should always provide as little detail as possible and employ nicknames or aliases in lieu of real names. If possible, they should create and use an alternative email account, ensuring thesecurity of their personal account and work information. Users should never reveal sensitive private data such as a home or work addresses, phone numbers or SocialSecurity 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 Cosoi.

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

Via beingPC