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The dating game: swiping personal data

Posted by Elisa Peacham on 8th August 2018

It’s no secret that the digital world is changing how we do everything; from business activities and day-to-day tasks, to even the dating game. Innovative trends, applications and networks are making digital communications easier than ever. Modern romance blossoms ever more commonly from the convenience of our phones.

As a generation glued to our devices, it wouldn’t be a surprise to read that one in three people are online dating, with a growing number of marriages beginning on dating apps. We only have developments in technology to thank for this. But is virtual dating becoming a dangerous game?

Most users of dating applications share their name, pictures, location and even where they work without batting an eyelid. The popularity of dating apps somehow reassures individuals – if everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t I?

But this year, security researchers discovered that the popular dating app, Tinder, lacks basic HTTPS encryption for photos, allowing hackers operating on the same network to takeover user profiles.  Kaspersky Labs also reported that several other popular dating apps are vulnerable to hacks, potentially risking the interception of private data; users’ locations, Facebook user ID’s and other such personal information.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the timing in light of their recent data scandal, even Facebook have jumped on the dating app train. You’d think potential users might be put off joining. Anything to put your love life’s fate into the hands of technology’s convenience, eh?

So, if we’re playing a risky game, what can we do?

Users should think carefully about what information they share online and in applications; providing only the minimum information that is absolutely necessary. Always update apps regularly and use strong and secure passwords. Use secure Wi-Fi networks when online. And finally, don’t shrug it off until your sensitive data is stolen.

Ultimately, it will be interesting to watch developments as they unfold in the technological dating game. Could it come to life with augmented and virtual reality? The possibilities are endless and now it’s just a waiting game. Apps have always been vulnerable to security exploits, and as innovations in technology continue to advance, so will the knowledge of professional hackers. Will it become even harder to control personal data security?

Elisa Peacham