Valentine's Day is right around the corner, which means that there's probably a flood of people hitting dating sites this week to find the right person with whom to spend their Saturday.
What you do on Valentine's Day is up to you, of course. But here's a friendly tech reminder: viruses aren't only a real-world dating problem.
IBM on Wednesday released a new study that reveals a frightening 60 percent of top dating apps they reviewed are "vulnerable to potential cyberattacks" that could put users' information at risk. The study only looked at Android apps -- and didn't name names -- but does raise concerns that hackers could use compromised apps to pull information about users' locations, control their phone's camera or microphones and even change your dating profile information to "tarnish your personal and/or professional reputation."
Perhaps even more disturbing, the study also found that 50 percent of companies have employees with dating apps on their work phones -- meaning that any problem you may have with your phone could spread to the rest of your company. For example, hackers could use a flaw in an app to get at someone's contact list, and then send malicious messages to colleagues, company contacts or clients. Or, if the dating service you use has your billing information, criminals could also use that to steal your identity or rack up unwanted charges.
It's probably best to try and keep your work and personal lives separate altogether. But that's become increasingly difficult as more employees have been able to bring their own devices for use at work. It's not convenient to juggle two phones for work and play. Just remember that your convenience has to come with some extra thoughts about security, too.
IBM recommends that online daters can keep themselves safe by practicing some pretty basic security hygiene, especially on their work devices. These include keeping information on your dating profiles vague, reviewing app permissions regularly and trusting your instincts about when a potential love connection feels a little too much like a phishing scam. The company also recommends deleting or deactivating your dating profiles once you've found a special someone, so that a zombie account doesn't come back to haunt you later.