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Technology Dating apps: How to protect your personal data from hackers, advertisers

13:00  22 january  2020
13:00  22 january  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Grindr said to share users' locations, sex preferences

  Grindr said to share users' locations, sex preferences Apps fed advertisers data that included info about "personalities, predispositions and secret desires," study found.The popular matchmaking apps collected and processed large amounts of highly sensitive information pertaining to individuals' sexuality, drug use, political views and more to help advertisers send consumers more targeted ads, the Norwegian Consumer Council said in a report entitled "Out of control: How consumers are exploited by the online advertising industry.

Most dating apps monetize by persuading users to sign up for premium memberships, according to Nazmul Islam, a junior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. Dating app tips from an internet privacy expert: Only sign up for apps that you have to pay for. Free apps are more likely to sell your data

The hackers can steal your connection and download illegal files. They can even access your webcam and take your pictures without you knowing. Now, you have 5 ways by which you can keep your private data safe from hackers over the internet. Following these steps cannot guarantee that you

Setting up a profile on most dating apps is simple. 

You input your name, upload some photos, set your location and sexual preferences and you're launched into a sea of mostly singles to chat with, meet and take things from there. 

During the process, you're also giving up valuable, personal information to platforms that often monetize by selling that data to third parties you've never heard of. Not to mention, data breaches abound. 

These popular apps are sharing personal data with dozens of companies, study says

  These popular apps are sharing personal data with dozens of companies, study says Some of the apps are sharing highly personal data, according to a study from the Norwegian Consumer Council.The study, released Tuesday by the Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerradet), found that the apps, which also included period-tracking apps Clue and My Days, were collectively sharing user data with at least 135 advertising-related companies. The shared data included GPS locations and IP addresses, as well as personal details about gender, sexuality and political views, according to the study.

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Grindr, OkCupid and Tinder, for example, were at the center of controversy last week when researchers accused the companies of disclosing highly personal information and breaking privacy laws. Each app denied many of the accusations. 

But why should you care?

When you sign up for a dating or hookup app, "you're putting information out there that people can use against you. Whether it's hackers or predators, a cybercriminal can use that information to send you a phishing email, and you can fall for it," said Jo O'Reilly, a data privacy expert at ProPrivacy. "For women, you're putting information out there like addresses and phone numbers that can make you vulnerable to stalkers."

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And of course, all apps containing personal data , whether it relates to banking, email, or just your Amazon account, should also be password- protected . Give the phone a thorough sweep to make sure none of your personal info is lingering. Be Careful Giving Out Your Digits. You wouldn’t pass out

Hackers want access to all of this data and will stop at nothing to get it. Updating your computer software and ensuring that all of your mobile apps are up to date can take time and many consider it an annoyance. If you’re forgetful, set weekly or monthly reminders to ensure everything is up to date .

Report: Dating apps like Grindr, Tinder and OkCupid collect, share your personal data

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Most dating apps monetize by persuading users to sign up for premium memberships, according to Nazmul Islam, a junior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. However, dating app subscription growth is slowing, so the platforms are looking for other ways to diversify revenue streams.

"They've started offering sponsored surveys where they will give users access to premium features if they take a survey from a marketing partner," Islam said. "The user gets paid in virtual currency like temporary premium access, while the app is being paid actual dollars by advertisers for the content."

So your personal details like height, weight and sexual orientation may be up for sale. Some of these apps, like Grindr, also have information on STD status and your exact location.  

Tinder is reportedly adding a panic button for when bad dates go horribly wrong

  Tinder is reportedly adding a panic button for when bad dates go horribly wrong Uber, Airbnb and Lyft are among the online platforms that have launched more safety tools recently.The popular dating app is beefing up its user security options, offering a panic alarm for when casual meet-ups or dates take a turn for the worst, the Wall Street Jourrnal reports.

Use up-to- date anti-virus software . From there, it can collect personal information, send status updates and messages that appear to be from you, or cover your account with ads that will crash your Consider changing your Facebook password every now and then to keep it safe from hackers .

This is wise because hackers occasionally find flaws in Apple's coding which they can exploit, potentially giving them access to your personal data And in iOS 13 VoIP apps can no longer collect your data in the background - apparently WhatsApp and Snapchat may require changes to comply.

The situation is particularly dire in countries where your sexual practices can get you in trouble with the law if the information gets into the wrong hands, O'Reilly said. 

Advertisers use this treasure trove of consumer data to display marketing materials online that are tailor-made for you, like restaurants you'd enjoy or clothes you'd buy based on your assumed amount of disposable income and other metrics.

But it's also important to remember that online dating companies also have access to your private messages and any personal pictures and videos you share. And the companies will likely give that information up if subpoenaed, O'Reilly said. 

And like many other tech sectors, dating apps are rife with data breaches.

In 2019, Heyyo reportedly left a server exposed on the internet, exposing nearly 72,000 users’ data online. That same year, Coffee Meets Bagel sent an email to users informing them that an "unauthorized party" gained access to their information. Perhaps most infamous of all was the Ashley Madison infidelity scandal in 2015. 

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The Most Comprehensive Data Protection Solution. Discover, classify, and protect your data from You can take steps to protect your data in the event of a lost or stolen device, however Passwords are easily cracked by hackers , particularly if you don't use sound password-creation practices.

Protect your privacy, data and peace of mind with this guide to beating thieves, whether they’re When it comes to protecting yourself against hackers , step one is always to install software When you install a smartphone app , you may be asked to grant it various permissions, including the ability

"These companies convince us to overshare. They convince us that the more information we put out there, the better the match we're going to get," O'Reilly said. 

Still, there are things you can do to better protect yourself from having your personal data shared with advertisers or being exposed to bad actors on the internet.

Dating app tips from an internet privacy expert:

  1. Only sign up for apps that you have to pay for. Free apps are more likely to sell your data, O'Reilly said. 
  2. Use only your first name or a nickname as it makes you harder to identify if hackers access your account details.
  3. Don't give away your home address, work address, phone number or email address in private messages, or when signing up. 
  4. Don't let other users persuade you to continue conversations via another app like WhatsApp or Messenger. They could be trying to scam you, O'Reilly said. 
  5. Turn off location settings, or use them sparingly. 
  6. Use as little personal and identifiable information on your profile as possible. That includes displaying your education, employer or other identifiable markers.

"Whatever data you give to an app, it's not just going to stay on an app," O'Reilly said. "The best approach is for consumers to assume that whatever data or private information they put onto an app will be sent to advertising companies."

Follow USA TODAY reporter Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dating apps: How to protect your personal data from hackers, advertisers

Match.com’s Date Check-In sends an SOS to friends in case of creeps .
Going on a date with someone you met online can be scary -- not just because of the pressure to be charming, but also because of the horror stories of creepers and criminals that use dating apps to target their victims. Match.com's latest security feature -- Date Check-In -- allows you to designate three emergency contacts who will receive your date's name, as well as the time and location of the date itself. During the date, Match.com will send you an automated text message. If you respond "yes" to the text, your contacts will get an alert.Match.

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