It seems that dating apps, like anything else these days, can be quite vulnerable and a treasure trove for hackers. So with Valentine’s Day approaching a reminder to be safe! For example, hackers could intercept cookies from the app via a Wi-Fi connection or rogue access point, and then tap into other device features such as the camera, GPS, and microphone that the app has permission to access.
The vulnerabilities discovered by IBM Security make it possible for a hacker to gather valuable personal information about a user. While some apps have privacy measures in place, IBM found many are vulnerable to attacks that could lead to the following scenarios:
- Dating App Used to Download Malware: Users let their guard down when they anticipate receiving interest from a potential date. That’s just the sort of moment that hackers thrive on. Some of the vulnerable apps could be reprogrammed by hackers to send an alert that asks users to click for an update or to retrieve a message that, in reality, is just a ploy to download malware onto their device.
- GPS Information Used to Track Movements: IBM found 73% of the 41 popular dating apps analyzed have access to current and past GPS location information. Hackers can capture a user’s current and past GPS location information to find out where a user lives, works, or spends most of their time.
- Credit Card Numbers Stolen From App: 48% of the 41 popular dating apps analyzed have access to a user’s billing information saved on their device. Through poor coding, an attacker could gain access to billing information saved on the device’s mobile wallet through a vulnerability in the dating app and steal the information to make unauthorized purchases.
- Remote Control of a Phone’s Camera or Microphone: All the vulnerabilities identified can allow a hacker to gain access to a phone’s camera or microphone even if the user is not logged into the app. This means an attacker can spy and eavesdrop on users or tap into confidential business meetings.
- Hijacking of Your Dating Profile: A hacker can change content and images on the dating profile, impersonate the user and communicate with other app users, or leak personal information externally to affect the reputation of a user’s identity. This poses a risk to other users, as well, since a hijacked account can be used by an attacker to trick other users into sharing personal and potentially compromising information.