When Fun Turns Into Danger: Can Hackers Reach You Through Dating Apps?
Dating has never been easier than it is today. A simple dating app for your smartphone will get you one swipe closer to your one night stand, a casual night out, or a serious relationship. At the same time, there are many risks you are unconsciously taking when using these apps. And no, we are not talking about getting stood up on a date.
Once you start using dating apps, you tread the online waters and willingly become exposed to specific online threats. Hackers and scammers are out there, and they will use every opportunity to profit. The convenience and fun of online dating can turn into a nightmare.
Dating Apps Are Attractive for Hackers
Before we lay out the answer to the “Can hackers reach you through dating apps?” question, we want you to start thinking. Think about all that data you input in a dating app on your phone. Most often, it will be your personal data including your name, address, phone number, and in some instances, even your credit card info. Where is that data kept? It is stored on servers owned by the company behind the dating app you are using.
The next question that should get you thinking is – “Do these companies have enough assets and resources to devote to data security as big companies do?” Data security and privacy are major concerns here, and very few companies have the money to hire independent cybersecurity firms to test the systems and ensure they are safe to use and that there are no vulnerabilities.
Dating apps tend to generate massive amounts of data about their users, including all those private pictures that you share. This makes their data centres very attractive to hackers. All that information can be sold on the dark web.
It Already Happened in the Past
Even if you aren’t interested in cybersecurity, you probably have noticed that data leaks and hacks make the news every day. However, it’s still possible that you aren’t aware of the fact that dating apps already got hacked in the past. Ever since Tinder got released in 2012, countless dating apps tried to make it big. Some of them succeeded, while others failed. Some of those that failed did so because their users’ data leaked.
The infamous Donald Daters dating app hack resulted in the information of all users being stolen. This included usernames, private messages, access tokens, profile pictures, and the devices they were using.
Dating websites that provide a convenient dating app for their users are not an exception. In the past, we have seen many successful hacks leading to data leaks. There is even a post where a hacker explains in a step-by-step fashion how he managed to hack a premium dating service by identifying a weakness in their web service.
Hackers Can Reach You Through Dating Apps
There is no fail-proof cybersecurity solution to render us all immune to hackers’ attempts to steal our data. These data leak cases that took place in the recent past testify to this. Simply put, hackers can reach you through dating apps.
In some cases, the dating app you are using can only serve as a weak link in your system for a hacker to take hold of your private data and credit card information. This usually happens when you are connected to a public WiFi using a smartphone OS or an app that is not updated.
How To Prevent This from Happening
You might argue that you are not responsible for data leaks. But what if your device served as an entry point for a hacker to access the dating service in the first place? Since your data is in question here, you should start feeling responsible and act accordingly. For instance, you can use a Virtual Private Network when you are fishing for dates online to help you scramble your communication and ensure anonymity.
You should also consider the dating apps you use. Only go for those that have a good reputation. Let the new ones get tested by other early adopters before you jump on the wagon. Before you allow your dating app to access your social media accounts, make sure to limit the data it has access to.
If you don’t want the convenience of online dating to become your worst nightmare, you should take some serious precautions. Being cautious in terms of which dating apps you use, using the best VPN for your needs, and updating your phone and apps regularly will go a long way in protecting you from such attacks.