Secure online dating
As the stigma around online dating begins to fade, an increasing number of young (and older) Americans are wading out into the sometimes turbulent waters of sites and apps like OKCupid, Match.com, and Tinder.
In fact, 15 percent of our nation’s inhabitants now say they’ve used some sort of digital matchmaking tool, which means that a lot of these sites and apps have of people’s personal information.
Bumble is a dating app that only allows women to initiate contact in opposite-sex connections; in same-sex connections either party may initiate contact. Since 2012, Tinder has been matching singles based on their social profiles and geographic location. Both users must “swipe right” before being matched and are then able to chat within the app.
POF.com, also known as Plenty Of Fish, is an online dating site headquartered in Vancouver.
This Valentine’s Day, Pew Research estimated that some 38 percent of U. Last Month, Hong and his team reviewed five “top dating apps,” and found that “all were vulnerable to hacking, containing exploits that would enable breaches similar to the infamous attack on Snapchat … the leaking of users’ data from an HIV-positive dating app.” And while Hong did not disclose which apps his team analyzed in his guest post for Venture Beat, he noted that “the two very most popular we analyzed have been downloaded between 10 million and 100 million times from Google Play alone.” Key to Seworks findings were the fact that all five of the apps were 100 percent decompilable, which Hong explains as “a process that enables hackers to reverse engineer and compromise an app.” Worse yet, “none of the dating apps [they] analyzed had protections to prevent or delay unauthorized decompiling,” and one of the apps “was not using secure communications, making it easy for hackers to intercept data being exchanged between the app and the server.” And perhaps most alarming was the fact that the source code of these apps was obfuscated, or in plain text.
Some of this text included “hard-coded key values, website addresses, and other critical information that could allow hackers access to sensitive data.” But it’s not just apps that are problematic.
EHarmony, one of the most famous (and perhaps oldest) of the dating sites, scored just 504, and Plenty Of Fish, whose mobile application allows for use anytime, scored just 361.
Even better known sites like could stand for some improvement — it scored a 741, with Up Guard noting that the site lacks “HSTS, secure cookies, and DNSSEC.” So if you’re looking for love online, have at it — but be careful where you’re fishing.
And according to recent research from security provider Seworks and security tech company Up Guard, dating apps are ripe for the picking when it comes to the next big hack. But according to Min-Pyo Hong of Seworks, these services are all extremely vulnerable to attack.
Of course there may come a time when you decide to meet in real life someone that you’ve chatted to online.
Even then, it pays to be cautious about giving out personal information, at least at the beginning of your new friendship/relationship.
Perhaps influenced by the approaching Halloween, the first in a scary-looking series of images puts forward one of the key myths about signing up to a dating site: Always be cautious about the people you meet online, especially if they start asking for money to help a family member, to visit you or pay medical bills etc.
Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don't know and trust.