60pc of dating apps may leave your heart and phone broken

12 Feb 2015

With Valentine’s Day approaching, frustrated dating app users looking for a date may find more than their heart broken after new research shows 60pc of Android dating apps have severe vulnerabilities.

The research undertaken by IBM’s security team analysed 41 of the most popular dating apps used by people looking to find their soulmates, but more than half are leaving themselves open to attack in a variety of ways, including via location tracking, malware, losing control of their phone or even just taking over their dating profile.

Tracking a person’s movements was one of the most susceptible to being compromised with 73pc of the 41 apps being found to rely on monitoring where the user has been travelling or is located at that moment, which may not come as a surprise with Tinder being the most popular app worldwide which is based entirely off location.

Financial records could also be compromised according to the study with just under half – 48pc – requiring credit card information to be inserted into it which could allow a hacker to gain access to their private banking details.

Other vulnerabilities noted by the researchers included cross site scripting via man in the middle, debug flag enabled, weak random number generator and phishing through such attacks.

When these vulnerabilities are exploited an attacker can potentially use the mobile device to conduct attacks.

Speaking of the team’s findings, Caleb Barlow, vice-president of IBM Security, “Consumers need to be careful not to reveal too much personal information on these sites as they look to build a relationship. Our research demonstrates that some users may be engaged in a dangerous trade-off – with increased sharing resulting in decreased personal security and privacy.”

Dating apps image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic