Research from Kaspersky Lab has revealed that almost half of Internet users in the UAE make their personal information public, including scans of their passports, payment details and driving licenses.
Sharing information or photos on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram has become second nature for many. But this latest research shows that the majority of people in the UAE share personal information digitally, with 83% of the respondents sharing photos and videos of their children and 56% sharing private and sensitive videos and photos of others. These habits are worse among younger generations, who are making large amounts of their personal information accessible to strangers.
Worryingly, once data has gone into the public domain, it can travel far beyond the control of its owners. One-in-five people admit that they share sensitive data with people they don’t know well, and with strangers, limiting their ability to control how their sensitive information will be used. Thus, people are exposing themselves to identity theft or financial attacks by sharing financial and payment details (53%), scans of their passports, driving licenses and other personal documents (71%) or passwords (44%).
The findings are part of Kaspersky Lab’s My Precious Data: Stranger Danger report into people’s data sharing habits. The research found that people are not just sharing data, they are also sharing devices that store their precious data. In fact, 14% of the UAE have shared the PIN for accessing their device with a stranger and one-in-four (26%) have left their devices unlocked and unsupervised among a group of people. Furthermore, nearly 35% have given their device to another person to use for some time.
“In today’s online world, sharing information with others has never been easier and, in many ways, that’s what the Internet was created for. says Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab,” says Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab. “But by disclosing important and sensitive information with other people at the push of a button, you relinquish control over it, because you can’t be sure where that data is going, and how it will be used. Users are literally putting their precious data, and even the devices that store it, in the hands of others.”