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How To Protect Yourself From Dating App Cyber Threats

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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Most dating apps are vulnerable to attacks from cyber criminals. Here’s how to give hackers the cold shoulder

IBM has discovered a number of vulnerabilities in more than 60 percent of popular Android dating apps.

Problems they discovered include dating apps downloading malware, GPS information being used to track users’ movements, credit card details being stolen from apps. The tech firm also found that nearly 50 percent of companies it analysed have at least one of these popular dating apps installed on mobile devices used to access business information.

But both consumers and businesses can take steps to protect themselves against potential threats. Here’s how:

What Can Consumers Do?

Be Mysterious: Don’t divulge too much personal information on these sites such as where you work, birthday or social media profiles until you’re comfortable with the person you are engaging with via the app.

Permission Fitness: Figure out if you want to use an app by checking the permissions it asks for by viewing the settings on your mobile device. When updating, apps often automatically reset the permissions determining what phone features they have access to, like your address book or GPS data.

password obviousKeep it Unique: Use unique passwords for every online account you have. If you use the same password for all your accounts it can leave you open to multiple attacks if one account is compromised.

Punctual Patching: Always apply the latest patches and updates to your apps and your device when they become available. This will fix any identified bugs in your device and applications, resulting in a more secure experience.

Trusted Connections: Use only trusted Wi-Fi connections when on your dating app. Hackers love using fake Wi-Fi access points that connect you directly to their device to execute these types of attacks. Many of the vulnerabilities found in this research can be exploited via Wi-Fi.

What Can Enterprises Do?

Businesses also need to be prepared to protect themselves from vulnerable dating apps active inside their infrastructure, especially for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scenarios. To protect confidential corporate assets, businesses should:

Adopt the Right Protection: Leverage Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) offerings with mobile threat management (MTM) capabilities to enable employees to utilize their own devices while still maintaining the security of the organization.

Define Downloadable Apps: Allow employees to only download applications from authorized app stores such as Google Play, iTunes, and the corporate app store.

Education is Key: Educate employees to know the dangers of downloading third party applications and what it means when they grant that app specific device permissions.

Immediately Communicate Potential Threats: Set automated policies on smartphones and tablets, which take immediate action if a device is found compromised or malicious apps are discovered. This enables protection to corporate resources while the issue is remediated.

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