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Finding Love Online Might be Popular, but it isn't Secure

CBS New York
Increasingly, in the world of being single, online dating is developing a kind of 'if you can't beat them, join them' aura around it. I think the issue is that the more prevalent it becomes, the more it creates a kind of split mentality, wherein dating is inextricably associated with online activity, if you can't vet someone's profile before you meet them, you're not going to date them.

The thing is though, people don't often stop to think about the security of dating sites and apps. It's a constant concern for many on other forms of social media, but for some reason it's not considered anywhere near as often for dating, and it most certainly should be.

Last month, Seaworks did a study into the security of the 'top dating apps' to determine just how secure they actually are. The results were unsettling. They found that "all were vulnerable to hacking, containing exploits that would enable breaches similar to the infamous attack on Snapchat". It's not divulged exactly which apps they looked into, but it does mention that they've all been downloaded between 10 and 100 million times from Google Play, so it's pretty easy to figure out.

The fatal flaw seems to be that the apps are relatively easy to reverse engineer, or 'decompile' for anyone with a working knowledge of app development, and of hacking. More worrying is that once you get in, in all cases, the source code could be viewed in plain text, including almost all the sensitive information nefarious hackers might want to mine.

It doesn't end with just one study though, the FBI have also explicitly warned singles to watch their step, but not against hackers, so much as people who might manipulate them emotionally in order to steal money. Supposedly, the information they provide will often falsely claim that they are an American citizen travelling elsewhere. Eventually, after however much comfortable conversation has passed, they'll start asking for money.

The FBI gave a full list of things to keep an eye out for in these cases, which you can read over at Raw Story, but generally speaking, it's best to avoid anyone who looks like they took their profile picture at a magazine shoot, and almost immediately starts steering the conversation towards intimacy. Nigerian princes are probably a red flag as well. None of this is an indictment against online dating in general, just a reminder to approach with caution.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Finding Love Online Might be Popular, but it isn't Secure Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, February 18, 2016 Rating: 5

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