Hitch or decoy? Dating Apps Are Dangerous

Dating apps – “dating apps” – have been gaining in popularity for years and the number of users has increased with the pandemic. the security tips that can prevent cybercrime.

In 2020, Check Point Research, Check Point Software’s Threat Intelligence area, contributed to the exposure and resolution of several critical vulnerabilities of the OkCupid website and mobile application, one of the leading “dating apps” in the market, with more than 110 millions of users in 100 countries of the world. If successfully exploited, a cybercriminal could access sensitive and private information, as well as send messages without the user noticing.

According to Apptopia, the top20 of applications of this type gained 1.5 million active daily users in 2021. Statista, on the other hand, claims that the number of users around the world is around the 200. 1 million, it is expected that, in 20800, it will reach them 234.9 million. In Portugal, dating apps are also a trend, with emphasis on Tinder which, per month, registers the 200 million swipesEngate ou engodo? Apps de dating são perigosas.

Engate ou engodo? Apps de dating são perigosas

Dating or sextortion apps? *)But what are the risks that we expose ourselves to when we use these “dating apps”? According to Check Point, one of the biggest risks for users who share personal photos with their ‘dates’ is the possibility that these images could be used for blackmail, in exchange for financial gain. When registering in an app, a significant amount of personal information is revealed, which can also be used by cybercriminals for malicious purposes.

Moreover, a simple photograph can be the perfect bait to access to a device. One of the most effective tactics cybercriminals use in these apps is to create an attractive profile. To the ‘matches’ that they obtain, they send a file that may contain malware of various types, including spyware, capable of obtaining the user’s passwords.

In dating applications, known as “ dating apps”, it is common for cybercriminals to create fake profiles with images and descriptions that attract the user’s attention. Its modus operandi is to create interest in order to start a conversation with the victim. Over days, weeks, or even months, the attacker gradually builds trust, starting a long-distance relationship. Most of the time, this relationship starts without the parties actually seeing each other, but there is a promise of “meeting soon”. The cybercriminal asks the victim to send money “so that he can travel to meet” or because a “serious problem” has arisen.

Although these cyber attacks are more likely to target the users of these applications, there are cases where even a non-user can be a victim. Anyone with someone else’s data, documents or files is capable of imitating an identity. In fact, now that most Internet users expose a lot of their data on the web, it’s accessible to everyone. With this data, cybercriminals are able to create profiles where they pretend to be someone they are not. In addition to being able to create damage at the level of a person’s image, these frauds occur, most of the time, with the aim of getting money.

Finally, Check Point warns against account theft. When we entered the dark web, we found hundreds of hacked “dating apps” profiles available to buy at a high price. In 2016, a dating site was hacked and the data from 20 millions of users were stolen, including some who had already unsubscribed from their services. The data included emails, passwords and other personal account information that can be sold and used for subsequent phishing or malware attacks, among others.

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