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Software security firm Check Point Software (Check Point) advises users of dating apps about the cyber risks that come with its use. Providing information online — to people you haven’t met — is reason enough to be worried. These data can be misused for different online criminal activities.
“Millions of people use dating apps or websites to meet new friends and, who knows, with any luck, find their life partner,” said Gary Gardiner, head of Security Engineering, APAC & Japan, at Check Point Software. “They are very convenient for users, as they allow them to make contact quickly, easily, and from anywhere. However, they do not go unnoticed by cybercriminals, who take advantage of these platforms and the confidential information they contain when looking for potential victims to scam.”
Check Point warns people of malware that can be spread through dating apps. Cybercriminals can lure people with a well-crafted profile then upon meeting their match, they can send malware through attachment files. Spyware is capable of obtaining the user’s application passwords.
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According to Check Point, a dating website was hacked in 2016 wherein the data of 32 million users was stolen. Emails, passwords, and other personal account information, even of those who have already unsubscribed to the service, might have been sold on the dark web or used in phishing and malware attacks.
The company also said that cybercriminals can take advantage of users’ human vulnerability. After luring them into a relationship, cybercriminals will create situations that will allow them to ask the victim to send money and vanish afterward.
Cybercriminals can impersonate people from the account they have stolen.
“Now that most internet users expose a lot of their data on the web, it is accessible to everyone,” Check Point said. “With this data, cybercriminals are able to create profiles pretending to be someone they are not, in order to fraudulently act for financial gain. This act can undoubtedly cause great damage to a person’s image.”
To prevent these from happening, Check Point shares these tips:
- Never give confidential information to third parties: Any user who requests confidential information may be a cybercriminal, so it is essential that you never give out personal data in these apps to avoid running any kind of risk.
- Do not download images or files to your devices: Everyone shows their photographs on these dating apps, but it is very important that they are only displayed on the application itself and are not downloaded or saved, as they could be hiding any type of cyberattack that could endanger all the documents and files on your mobile or computer.
- Do not trust, use common sense, and do not rush: This is a basic premise, but sometimes the most obvious thing is the most useful. If something seems strange or does not seem very real, it is better to be suspicious.
- Check profiles on dating websites: One of the best precautions you can take is to pay attention to details and be wary of newly created profiles and/or profiles with pictures that look like an advertisement. If, in addition, that user shows too much interest or asks for too much personal information that should ring alarm bells.
“The best way to stay safe is to proceed with great caution and understand the steps you can take to avoid the cyber risks that you could be exposed to,” Gardiner said.