More youngsters sharing personal data online with strangers

Moscow: In the age of social media, a worrying trend of sharing private and sensitive content with strangers is fast growing among youngsters, Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said on Wednesday.

Almost 93 per cent of internet users share their information digitally, with 45 per cent of them sharing their private and sensitive videos and photos with others. Seventy per cent of them share photos and videos of their children online with strangers.

But the trend is worse among members of the younger generation who make large amounts of their personal information accessible to strangers.

“By disclosing important and sensitive information with other people, you relinquish control over it, because you can’t be sure where that data is going, and how it will be used,” said Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business, Kaspersky Lab, in a statement.

Almost 44 per cent of Internet users make their information public, but once data has gone into the public domain, it can travel far beyond the control of its owners.

The findings further showed that one in five people admitted that they share sensitive data with people they don’t know well.

Nearly 37 per cent people shared their financial and payment details online, thus inviting a financial attack and over 40 per cent had shared scans of their passports, driving licences and other personal documents.

Almost 30 per cent internet users shared their passwords with others online.

“Ten per cent have shared the PIN for accessing their device with a stranger and 22 per cent have left their devices unlocked and unsupervised among a group of people. Furthermore, nearly 23 per cent have given their device to another person to use for some time,” the report noted.

The study revealed that young people are the most likely to share private and sensitive photos of themselves with others.

“While it’s completely unrealistic to expect internet users to stop sharing photos, personal details and other information with each other, we do urge people to think twice before they share important information publicly online,” Mochola suggested.