Amorous Brits have been urged to remain cautious online in the run up to Valentine's Day, after security experts warned of a spike in malicious activity designed to steal passwords and other sensitive information.
Bhaskar Krishnappa, a malware analyst with Symantec Hosted Services, said in a blog post that the firm had discovered example of password stealing malware that arrives in a user's inbox disguised as an animated heart-themed e-card.
Krishnappa warned that most anti-virus scanners are likely to misdiagnose the executable in question and declare it clean.
"This is a password stealer which then steals stored passwords from web-browsers," he wrote. "At the time of analysis only five scanners out of 41 were detecting this sample based on their generic detection on Virustotal. "
Meanwhile, 'life assistance' company CPP warned users of dating sites to be wary of giving out too much information online.
An estimated £2.6bn was stolen online from UK consumers last year, according to Financial Fraud Action UK, and Sarah Blaney, a fraud expert at CPP, warned that cyber criminals are looking at ever more sophisticated ways to increase this figure.
"All fraudsters need is a name, address and date of birth in order to steal your identity. If they do this they can apply for credit in your name and accumulate large bills," said Blaney.
"Not repaying these bills can damage your credit rating, making it very difficult to secure credit or expensive at the very least.
"People need to make sure that they don't get swept up in the romance and give out personal information too freely, which could put them at financial risk."
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