More and more people join the use of dating applications like Tinder, Happn, Lovo, among many others. However, many of the millions of users who use these applications do not stop to think about the information they present in them or the possible consequences of publishing personal information available to any user.
Generating a profile on Tinder is very simple, just link the account to an Instagram or Facebook profile. The thing to keep in mind is that both on Facebook and Instagram Photos and personal information related to likes and interests that may not be shared are stored. In addition to this information, Tinder requests that if it is completed in its entirety, much is left available.
Users should be aware of the risks associated with publishing personal information, as they never know what might happen to that information or how they use it. The data collected by the application is enough to create deception such as targeted phishing attacks or social engineering.
In January of this year a study published by the Norwegian consumer advocacy agency (NCC) suggests that vVarious popular online dating apps, such as Grind, OkCupid and Tinder, are collecting sensitive information from users, including sexual preferences, accurate location data, online activity, to be marketed with marketing and advertising companies. Recently the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) launched an investigation due to the way Tinder and other services handle users’ personal data.
In January of this year it was also known that in clandestine forums more than 70,000 images of Tinder users packaged together with a text file qIt also contained the ID of approximately 16,000 users of the application. Although the purpose for which the images were circulating is not clear, it is speculated that they could be used to extort Tinder users themselves or even to create false profiles on other platforms with the intention of carrying out some malicious action.
One of the biggest flaws in this type of application It is not having adequate privacy policies, since all the information is public and anyone can consult it. On the other hand, although it is questionable in the handling of users’ personal information by these platforms, it does not exempt users from responsibility regarding the care of their personal information, since it is they who end up providing it. Education and awareness are important to understand the value of information, and to protect it appropriately, says Camilo Gutirrez, head of the ESET Latin America research laboratory.
It presents a series of tips to implement when interacting through your profile in dating applications in order to protect privacy on the web:
- Name and age: it is preferable to use a pseudonym and not the full name, since it is very easy to research someone on the network by their first and last name.
- University or study center: Institutions typically have active social media groups where it is relatively easy to find their members and colleagues.
- Descriptive space of the user: Avoid unnecessary information in this space that is usually free for the user. Many people disclose information that significantly exposes them, such as their cell phone number, public profiles to other networks, etc.
- Work and type / place of employment: Unless you are looking for professional exchanges, it is not advisable to add this information to a profile. In the case of universities or study centers, it is easy to search for information based on an individual’s membership group.
- Preview of IG profile: This is a sensitive point, because although it is true that it is comfortable for both parties to a match to get to know each other panoramicly through an Instagram preview, it is also true that many users use this network in a public way, so it is advisable to avoid the use of profiles public and even more if the profile is going to be lent to other networks such as Tinder.
It is likely that there is often no point in publishing information about the job or college in which we study. Avoiding this type of data could decrease attack vectors and consequently the level of exposure. Be that as it may, and as we have seen in the Tinder profile example, it is a fact that many platforms request a large amount of information from their users and interrelate it between other platforms. If we add all the data, a lot of information is obtained and many times it is difficult for users to discriminate which type of information is more sensitive than other. Taking the necessary precautions to take care of our information will allow us to enjoy the Internet safely, Gutirrez concluded.