Grindr and Tinder could be ripe to backdoor intrusion, according to a recent study.
A study has shown that there are
gaping holes on dating apps like Tinder and Grindr that could, in theory, leave users’ data accessible.
Raymond Choo, a security analyst, working out of the University of South Australia in Adelaide set up fake profiles across the eight most popular dating apps, including Tinder and Grindr, with a view to trying to access the private data stored on the smartphone on which the apps were installed.
Choo and his team found that all eight of the apps they tried had at least some vulnerabilities which left data open to snooping.
The team managed to successfully access images of all the Tinder profiles which had been viewed by their device, and on Grindr, the popular gay geosocial connection app, the team were able to access a world of data regarding users they had scanned on the application, including their email address, distance and date of birth, and they were even able to gain access to a database of sent and received instant messages.
Despite the troubling assertion that apps which we use for our most personal processes might not be secure, things aren’t quite as bad as they seem.
While data was accessed by Choo and his team, their paper states that their access to sensitive information was facilitated largely by the fact that they had the device in their hands in the first place, and goes on to confirm that encrypted or secured phones would nix their digging even further.
In other words, if someone gets hold of your phone, they might be able to see personal stuff, which is by no means the shock-horror scenario which the study appears to suggest.
Dating apps are no strangers to security scares, however. Back in 2013 it was revealed that Tinder could be hacked to reveal users exact location, giving rise to serious concerns over users’ safety.
Choo and his team think that a fix, adding an extra layer of security to the app via data encryption, would be a fairly simple way to patch up all the holes, and given that Tinder now has a reported 50 million users, it seems like something that the company, and its peers, should consider.
However, provided your device is secured and you aren’t in the habit of passing it around to your mates in the pub, you mightn’t have as much to worry about as Mr Choo and his fellows would have you believe.