How to Protect Your Privacy When Using Dating Apps

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14 / 11 / 2017

How to Protect Your Privacy When Using Dating Apps

We live in a busy and stressful world, so it’s no wonder our working day often continues late into the night. Stressed out, overwhelmed, exhausted – this is how we feel at the end of the day. With no work-life balance, it is almost impossible to find that special someone.

Dating apps can be a lifesaver in this case. With Tinder, Badoo, Bumble, etc. you can search for a date without leaving your home. It’s easy to get started: create a profile, upload a few photos, provide the necessary information, and swipe to choose the best dating prospects.

The idea of an app that helps people meet each other is great; however, dating apps have recently become much more vulnerable. App platforms often don’t care about security gaps, allowing attackers to use these weaknesses in cybercrimes.

Recently, Kaspersky Lab security researchers have revealed numerous exploits in several popular dating apps. These include Tinder, Badoo, Bumble, OKCupid, Mamba, Zoosk, Happn and Paktor, all available on iOS and Android. Using simple and complex security holes, attackers access users’ locations, their real names, login info, and message histories. They can even see which profiles users have viewed. This makes dating app users vulnerable to blackmail and stalking.

The reason for simpler access to users’ private data is a low encryption level of HTTP protocols. As a result, attackers are able to bypass app servers. Worse yet, the Bumble, Badoo, Zoosk, and WeChat apps have no HTTP encryption at all.

How to protect your private information

We recommend you follow these simple rules when using the above-mentioned dating apps.

  1. Avoid browsing via public Wi-Fi hotspots, especially those that aren’t password- protected. Use a VPN service and install an antivirus app on your smartphone.

  2. Do not specify your employer’s name or any other information that could help identify you. It’s recommended you write about yourself in general, not specific, terms.

  3. Avoid providing your educational information. Displaying your education in a dating app doubles the risk of identifying your social media profile. Including the name of a college or university helps find your first and last name on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

  4. Be careful using apps that track your location. If a dating app shows a distance between you and a potential partner, it means your location is constantly being tracked.

  5. Use dating apps only for searching people and don’t write a lot about yourself. Once you find someone you like, it’s better to keep in touch with this person on a more protected platform like Facebook or WhatsApp.

  6. Verify if the person you like is real. A no-show profile pic, or a fluffy cat, are the first signs a profile is fake. Don’t waste your time. Instead, ask some specific questions and make sure the person you’re interested in is real.

  7. Install antivirus software on your smartphone. In this case, you’ll be informed immediately of any privacy breaches.

Dating apps are a great way to meet new friends and even build a serious relationship. Stay safe by keeping these tips in mind when dating online. Take care and follow our Security Watch to protect your private information.