HOW TO....

On-line Dating Security Tips for Valentine

Find your match on the Web while being safe and secure

While there are many respectable and reliable e-dating
services, singletons should be extremely careful when choosing the Web site
through which they will plead their hearts’ story. Ideally, before subscribing
to such a service, users should scrutinize for testimonials and Web site
reviews, both on the Internet and in the printed media. Also, the advice of a trustworthy
person or of someone who has already used the service could help them when making
a decision. Under no circumstance one should anyone subscribe to a dating
service discovered via spam e-mails as this is one sure way to becoming the
victim of ID theft or receiving even more spam.


Valentine's day spam


valentine's day phish

“Surfing the Web in
the search of the perfect match for Valentine’s Day can be a relaxing and enjoyable
experience, but it could also turn into a nightmare due to cybercriminals
looking to intercept Cupid’s electronic arrows.”
said Alexandru Catalin
Cosoi, Senior AntiSpam and AntiPhishing Researcher.

On-line daters should also read with a great deal of
attention the privacy policy of the Web site they choose. They should look for
the kind of data the service collects about its users and if the personal
profile will be disclosed to third parties or employed for other purposes,
namely advertising or listing in different directories. Ideally, the Web site should
explicitly state that it protects anonymity and that no private information
would be revealed unless the users choose to do so.

Users should provide as little personal details as possible
and employ nicknames or aliases as user names, instead of their real names. If
possible, they should create and use an alternative e-mail account, instead of
the current personal or job’s account, to protect their identity, as well as to
avoid spam and malware.

When subscribing, but also when posting messages on-line
love birds should avoid revealing sensitive private data, namely their home or
work address, phone number, Social Security Number, etc.

“Even the most trivial
information (mother’s maiden name, pet’s name and so on) can be exploited by criminals.
Some of these details serve as password recovery hints for e-mail addresses or
on-line banking accounst. We strongly recommend on-line daters to never share
financial data, such as bank accounts, credit card numbers, PINs”
Alexandru Catalin Cosoi, Senior AntiSpam and AntiPhishing Researcher.

Users should also watch out and never respond to requests or
click links from people claiming to represent charity causes or advertising
goods and services – many e-criminals employ on-line dating sites to trick users
into giving them money or downloading camouflaged malware.

Last but not least, if users feel uncomfortable or threatened
by someone’s e-behavior, they should stop any interaction with that person and
report the abuse.

About the author


With a humanities passion and background (BA and MA in Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest) - complemented by an avid interest for the IT world and its stunning evolution, I joined in the autumn of 2003 the chief editors' team from Niculescu Publishing House, as IT&C Chief Editor, where (among many other things) I coordinated the Romanian version of the well-known SAMS Teach Yourself in 24 Hours series. In 2005 I accepted two new challenges and became Junior Lecturer at the Faculty of Letters (to quote U2 - "A Sort of Homecoming") and Lead Technical Writer at BluePhoenix Solutions.

After leaving from BluePhoenix in 2008, I rediscovered "all that technical jazz" with the E-Threat Analysis and Communication Team at BitDefender, the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Here I produce a wide range of IT&C security-related content, from malware, spam and phishing alerts to technical whitepapers and press releases. Every now and then, I enjoy scrutinizing the convolutions of e-criminals' "not-so-beautiful mind" and, in counterpart, the new defensive trends throughout posts on

Balancing the keen and until late in night (please read "early morning") reading (fiction and comparative literature studies mostly) with Internet "addiction", the genuine zeal for my bright and fervid students with the craze for the latest discoveries in science and technology, I also enjoy taking not very usual pictures (I'm not a pro, but if you want to see the world through my lenses, here are some samples, messing around with DTP programs to put out some nifty book layouts and wacky t-shirts, roaming the world (I can hardly wait to come back in the Big Apple), and last but not least, driving my small Korean car throughout the intricacies of our metropolis's traffic.