Why Your Dating App May Be Dangerous

The security team at Check Point now warns that there is one domain where you are especially at risk — dating apps as social engineering attacks continue to increase at a frightening rate. “We have experienced a lot of instances ultimately causing ransom,” they tell me personally, “bad actors exploiting users, securing their personal data, then attacking.”

“We made a decision to glance at OkCupid,” Check Point’s Oded Vanunu informs me, “as it is one of the primary.” The working platform has up to 50 million users that are registered a lot more than 100 nations, its Android os application alone has been downloaded more than 10 million times. Always check aim decided it absolutely was the test that is ideal weaknesses. “We wished to know the way effortless it might be for hackers to a target this infrastructure to hijack reports,” Vanunu says. “It had been quite easy.”

The good thing is that Check Point shared its findings with OkCupid, allowing a fix to be hurried away. “Not a solitary individual had been influenced by the possible vulnerability,” an OkCupid representative explained. “We were in a position to correct it within 48 hours.” The bad news is Check Point believes this really is simply the tip of an alarming iceberg over the industry, there are many others weaknesses found.

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“We wish to provide even more understanding to users,” Vanunu now states. “With this kind of application, you must know it could be hacked along with plenty of personal information on the line.” Stepping straight straight back, you can observe their point — an incredible number of us are extremely trusting among these online dating sites and apps to shield our information, our preferences, it’s a treasure that is genuine for bad actors.

With OkCupid, Check aim claims that its hack enabled use of every thing within a merchant account — personal information and communications, pictures, a user’s real contact information and identification, even responses towards the personal and embarrassing concerns that enable the site’s AI engine to filter prospective matches.

So, exactly exactly how achieved it work? Check always Point identified a vulnerability in OkCupid’s website website website link scheme, the one that could possibly be spoofed by links disguised as belonging to your platform it self, but that have been harmful. These links would offer a path to exfiltrate information, a way to trigger actions inside the platform.

“An attacker can send a customized website website link,” the group describes in its disclosure. The mobile application will start a webview ( web web web web browser) screen — OkCupid mobile application. Any demand shall be delivered utilizing the users’ snacks.” This means a user pressing the hyperlink on the phone or computer would “credentialize” on their own, supplying an attacker with full use of their account.

Check always Point’s website website link could possibly be spammed away, focusing on users indiscriminately. However the group indicates an attack that is targeted become more likely. “Think about that, here is the truth,” Vanunu warns. “I’m a cyber criminal. I wish to ransom individuals, I do want to perform sextortion. I am within the application. I personally use a fake id and find matches. We begin chatting. Then we deliver this website link in a talk it self. And that is it. The account is had by me. I could begin to ransom the individual: ‘If you do not wish us to share this information deliver me bitcoin’.”

Always check aim warns that dating apps have grown to be a source that is ready of data for cyber crooks — whether that information is taken via a vulnerability or simply just tricked away from users by social engineering. Keep in mind, there are lots of techniques to pull IDs and passwords, it doesn’t need to be since direct as this.

“As sophisticated social engineering assaults have actually increased within the last few 2 yrs,” Vanunu explains, “attacker need more information regarding goals. There clearly was a competition for information, a competition to gather information on users. In this domain, folks are far more free, they share a great deal more information that is private more images, ideas and tips than you’ll find on regular social media marketing platforms. Dating apps are a getaway.”

Always check aim additionally highlights that focusing on a person can be a path to their company, it could be just point of leverage. Many users conduct themselves openly, trying to find a match, “but additionally there are users hiding their identification, supplying information that may be dangerous into the incorrect fingers. We come across this day-to-day as soon as we do forensics on assaults on organisations, the data are seen by us that permitted the attacker to a target the target.”

And that’s the takeaway right right right right here — yes, the detail that is specific on OkCupid, a vulnerability that is fixed. But, as Vanunu warns, “in my estimation, one other apps could be targeted for certain.” In addition to specific assault vector is additional towards the value associated with the personal, key information included within. Once we should all understand full-well chances are, no site or software are trusted to safeguard that information as a total.


OkCupid is part of Match Group, the giant associated with the on the web dating globe. Its other platforms dozens that are(among consist of Tinder, an abundance of Fish and Match it self. “We’re grateful to lovers like Checkpoint,” the company’s spokesperson told me, “who with OkCupid put the security and privacy of y our users first.”

Vananu’s conclusions are far more stark: “We’ve learned that dating apps may be not even close to safe,” he states. “Every manufacturer and individual should pause to think about just exactly just what more can be achieved around protection, particularly even as we enter just exactly exactly what could possibly be a cyber pandemic that is imminent. Applications with delicate private information, such as for instance a dating application, are actually goals of hackers, thus the critical significance of securing them.”