How to use online dating sites safely in the run up to Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s important not to get so hot under the collar that you forget your online security basics.


The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has recently reported that the dating app MeetMindful.com has been hacked and personal information including email addresses, Facebook user ID’s and geo-location information leaked.


And with so many more people working from home as a result of the current lockdown restrictions and therefore more likely to be accessing work related IT in their own time, you could be putting both yourself and your company at risk.


Indeed, criminals could threaten to share your dating profile with friends, family and even work colleagues unless a ransom is paid.


By taking a few simple precautions however, you can enjoy the online dating process while keeping yourself and your company safe.


Like other phishing attacks, the NCSC advises you to:

- report any suspicious emails you receive by forwarding to report@phishing.gov.uk (the NCSC's Suspicious Email Reporting Service)

- report suspicious text messages to short code 7726, and

- follow the guidance on how to protect yourself if you are victim of a phishing scam www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/suspicious-email-actions or sextortion www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/sextortion-scams-how-to-protect-yourself scam.


See more in the NCSC’s latest threat report at: www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/weekly-threat-report-29th-january-2021


In addition, we do not recommend sharing personal information with people you meet online until you’re sure you can trust them. They say love is blind, but it pays to be cautious when considering whether the suitor you’re talking to is really who they seem.


Share these points with your colleagues to avoid an embarrassing and costly incident from occurring, which could involve work devices or data.


We will be sharing more tips to keep you safe when it comes online dating on our social media profiles in the run up to valentine’s day. Please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) are working together to support the establishment of Regional Cyber Resilience Centres (CRCs). The CRCs represent a significant opportunity for the NCSC to expand the reach of its guidance and services to smaller organisations across the country, and provide an extra level of practical support to enhance their impact. The NCSC is currently assisting the NPCC in determining the suite of cyber security services that the CRCs will be able to offer.