Dating apps are marketed as a quick and convenient place to find love and like-minded individuals – but they’re also a hackers’ dream. According to the BBC, a recent hack of LGBT dating app Grindr has seen hackers access user’s accounts, including their images, messages and even their HIV status.
Grindr hack allowed anyone with an email address linked to an account to take over a user’s profile https://t.co/sk4A8M6wTR
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) October 5, 2020
The hack – discovered by French security researcher Wassime Bouimadeghene, and documented by security experts Troy Hunt and Scott Helme – reportedly “allowed anyone with an email address linked to a valid account to reset that user’s password and take over their profile,” according to BBC.
Grindr has responded to the attack, stating: “thankfully, we believe we addressed the issue before it was exploited by any malicious parties.”
“We are grateful to the researcher who identified a vulnerability,” Grindr’s COO Rick Marini told TechCrunch. “The reported issue has been fixed.”
While Grindr may have sorted the issue – it begs the question: how do you protect yourself from falling victim to a dating app hack?
It might seem obvious, but account security is paramount to protecting yourself from data breaches and hacks. That means you should always access your dating app on a secure WiFi network and guard your account with a strong, unique password – including two-factor authentication, if available.
ProtonVPN also warns of “anyone sending you links, and especially links using shortened URLs” that are often used to lure users away from the dating app and to sites that “can more easily harvest your data” – check the URL by pasting it into a website like this one.
ProtonVPN suggests disabling location-sharing features and avoiding the option to link your dating app to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp or other social media accounts. Same goes for sharing your full name, address, phone number, or place of work on your profile. You can also use an anonymous email address for an extra layer of security.
It goes without saying that if you ever decide to meet your dating app matches in person, always arrange it to take place in a public area, and let a friend know you’re going first.
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