By Juliet Umeh
A global provider of cyber security solutions, Check Point Research, have said that dating app users’ private details, messages and photos could be accessed and manipulated by a hacker.
This is as it recently demonstrated how a hacker could have accessed users’ sensitive data – full profile details, private messages, images and email addresses on an online dating platform, OkCupid.
It then advised that every developer and user of a dating app should pause to reflect on the levels of security around the intimate details and images that they host and share on dating apps’ platforms.
It recently identified and helped mitigate several security flaws on OkCupid’s website and mobile app. If exploited, the vulnerabilities would have allowed a hacker to access and steal the private data of OkCupid users, and send messages from their account without users’ knowledge.
Researchers however, detailed the three-step attack method which would have enabled a hacker to target users: The hacker generates a malicious link containing a targeted payload that initiates the attack; the hacker sends the link to the intended target, or publishes it in a public forum for users to click on and once the victim clicks the link to open it, the malicious code is executed, giving the hacker access to the target’s account.
Head of Products Vulnerability Research at Check Point, said: “Our research into OkCupid, which is one of the most popular dating platforms, has raised some serious questions over the security of all dating apps and websites. We demonstrated that users’ private details, messages and photos could be accessed and manipulated by a hacker, so every developer and user of a dating app should pause to reflect on the levels of security around the intimate details and images that they host and share on these platforms. Thankfully, OkCupid responded to our findings immediately and responsibly to mitigate these vulnerabilities on their mobile app and website.”
Responding to the findings of Check Point, OkCupid said: “Check Point Research informed OkCupid developers about the vulnerabilities exposed in this research and a solution was responsibly deployed to ensure its users can safely continue using the OkCupid app.
“Not a single user was impacted by the potential vulnerability on OkCupid, and we were able to fix it within 48 hours. We’re grateful to partners like Check Point who with OkCupid, put the safety and privacy of our users first,” it added.