More than 60 percent of leading dating mobile apps are vulnerable to cyber attacks, said a study by IBM Security.
Many of these dating applications have access to additional features on mobile devices such as the camera, microphone, storage, GPS location and mobile wallet billing information.
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Nearly 50 percent of organizations analyzed have at least one of these popular dating apps installed on mobile devices used to access business information.
Pew Research study revealed one in 10 Americans, or roughly 31 million people, have used a dating site or app and the number of people who dated someone they met online grew to 66 percent.
IBM Security identified that 26 of the 41 dating apps they analyzed on the Android mobile platform had either medium or high severity vulnerabilities. The analysis was done based on apps available in the Google Play app store in October 2014.
The vulnerabilities make it possible for a hacker to gather valuable personal information about a user.
Some of the vulnerable apps could be reprogrammed by hackers to send an alert that asks users to click for an update or to retrieve a message that, in reality, is just a ploy to download malware onto their device.
IBM found 73 percent of the 41 popular dating apps analyzed have access to current and past GPS location information. Hackers can capture a user’s current and past GPS location information to find out where a user lives, works, or spends most of their time.
48 percent of the 41 popular dating apps analyzed have access to a user’s billing information saved on their device.
All the vulnerabilities can allow a hacker to gain access to a phone’s camera or microphone even if the user is not logged into the app. This means an attacker can spy and eavesdrop on users or tap into confidential business meetings.
The IBM study said a hacker can change content and images on the dating profile, impersonate the user and communicate with other app users, or leak personal information externally to affect the reputation of a user’s identity.
Hackers could intercept cookies from the app via a Wi-Fi connection or rogue access point, and then tap into other device features such as the camera, GPS, and microphone that the app has permission to access, said IBM.