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IBM Warns That Dating Apps Pose Corporate Risk

IBM Warns That Dating Apps Pose Corporate Risk

by Drew CordellFebruary 12, 2015

Millions of people use dating apps on company smartphones every day. These users could be exposing themselves and employers to hacking, spying, and theft, according to a study by IBM. IBM researchers state that 26 of 41 dating apps analyzed on the Android platform had medium or high severity vulnerabilities in a report that was published last Wednesday.

Though IBM did not name the vulnerable apps, they said that they had alerted the app publishers to problems. Many dating apps have become increasingly popular due to instant messaging and GPS location. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, about 31 million Americans have used a dating site or app.

Vulnerable Dating Apps

ibm_416x416IBM found employees used vulnerable dating apps in nearly 50% of all companies sampled in the research. Using the same phone for work and play, something known as “Bring your own device” or BYOD, means that employees and employers are vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks.

The trouble with BYOD is that, if, not managed properly, the organizations might be leaking sensitive corporate data via employee-owned devices,

said the IBM report.

Hackers can take advantage of compromised apps by replying to users that are waiting to hear back from a potential love interest by sending phishing messages to acquire sensitive information or install malware, IBM said.

The Compromised apps would also allow hackers to remotely turn on a phone’s camera or microphone, which IBM warned could be used to listen in on personal or confidential business meetings. GPS data could also lead to stalking or to acquire a user’s billing information that could lead to hackers using the information to purchase things on other apps or websites. While the breaches have not been as serious as attacks on any social media sites, they could become increasingly popular.

IBM recommends that dating app users limit the personal information they share, use unique passwords on every online account, and constantly patch software and keep track of permissions that apps have.

Images via IBM and Shutterstock.

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