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Beware! Millions of people using dating apps on company smartphones could be exposing themselves and their employers to hacking, spying and theft, claims a study by International Business Machines Corp.
The security researchers of the company said 26 of 41 dating apps they analyzed on Google Inc’s Android mobile platform had medium or high severity vulnerabilities, in a report published.
IBM did not name the vulnerable apps but said it had alerted the app publishers to problems.
It is to be noted that dating apps have become hugely popular in the past few years due to their instant messaging, photo and geolocation services. An estimate, 31 million Americans have used a dating site or app, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center study.
IBM found employees used vulnerable dating apps in nearly 50 percent of the companies sampled for its research. Using the same phone for work and play, a phenomenon known as bring your own device, or BYOD, means users and their employers are both open to potential cyberattacks.
The trouble with BYOD is that, if not managed properly, the organizations might be leaking sensitive corporate data via employee-owned devices.
The company officials while pointing out the problem said, people on dating apps let their guard down and are not as sensitive to potential security problems as they might be on email or websites.
IBM said, if an app is compromised, hackers can take advantage of users waiting eagerly to hear back from a potential love interest by sending bogus phishing messages to glean sensitive information or install malware
The company warned, a phone’s camera or microphone could be turned on remotely through a vulnerable app, which could be used to eavesdrop on personal conversations or confidential business meetings. Vulnerable GPS data could also lead to stalking, and a user’s billing information could be hacked to purchase things on other apps or websites.
IBM said it had not so far seen a rash of security breaches due to dating apps as opposed to any other kind of social media.