Facebook Dating Security

Privacy Settings and Data Security on Facebook Dating

These days, using dating apps is just as common in romance as going to the movies or purchasing flowers. However, using dating apps like Bumble, Grindr, or Tinder comes with a lot of privacy hazards. Spend some time on dating app privacy protection this Valentine’s Day.

What’s changed in four years about dating app security?

A similar study was conducted by our experts a few years ago. In 2017, after investigating nine well-known services, they depressingly concluded that there were serious problems with dating apps’ storage, accessibility, and safe transfer of user data.

Data storage and transmission security

The state of data communication between the application and the server has greatly improved over the previous four years. Firstly, encryption is used by all nine of the apps that we looked into this time. Second, every programme has a defence against certificate-spoofing attacks. When it finds a phoney certificate, it just stops sending data. In addition, Mamba indicates that the connection is unsafe.

A potential attacker may still be able to access data saved on the user’s device if they manage to obtain superuser (root) privileges. This is an unlikely case, though. Furthermore, data theft from a dating app is the least of the victim’s concerns because root access, in the wrong hands, essentially renders the device defenceless.

Email with password in clear text

The password of a newly registered user is emailed in plain text by two of the nine apps being studied, namely Mamba and Badoo. It is not a good habit to reset the password right away after registering, as many people tend to be careless with mail security in general. A potential attacker may find the password and use it to access the account by hacking the user’s email or intercepting the email itself (unless, of course, the dating app has activated two-factor authentication).

Required profile picture

Screenshots of users’ conversations or profiles can be used maliciously for doxing, shaming, and other objectives, which is one of the issues with dating services. Sadly, just one of the nine apps—Pure—allows you to register without a photo, making it harder for someone to identify you; it also conveniently suppresses screenshots. Another, called Mamba, provides a free photo-blurring feature that lets you display your images to only the people you select. That feature is also available in some of the other apps, but only for a price.

Social networks and dating apps

With the exception of Pure, all of the aforementioned apps let users sign up using a social network account—most frequently, Facebook. For people who don’t want to give the app access to their phone number, this is really their only choice. In the event that your Facebook account isn’t deemed sufficiently “respectable”—that is, if it has an excessive number of new or unfriended friends—you will probably have to disclose your phone number.

The majority of the programmes immediately import Facebook profile pictures into the user’s newly created account, which is the problem. This enables the simple photo linkage of a dating app account to a social media account.

Furthermore, a lot of dating apps let users link their profiles to other websites and social media platforms like Instagram and Spotify, which is actually advised in order to automatically update the profile with new images and music. Additionally, dating app profile information can be quite helpful in discovering someone on other websites, even though there is no foolproof method to identify an account in another service.

Location, location, location

The requirement to disclose your location on dating apps is arguably the most contentious feature. Four of the nine applications we looked into—Tinder, Bumble, Happn, and Her—require geolocation access by default. Three, available exclusively in the premium version, allows you to manually adjust your exact coordinates to the general region. Happn doesn’t offer this feature, but its premium edition lets you conceal the gap in distance between you and other users.

Even in their free editions, Mamba, Badoo, and OkCupid allow you to manually enter your location and do not require necessary access to geolocation. They do, however, offer to find your location automatically. We specifically warn avoiding providing geolocation information to Mamba because the service can detect your distance from other people to an alarming one metre accuracy.

Generally speaking, most services make it easy to determine a user’s position using triangulation and location-spoofing software if they grant permission for the app to display their proximity. Only Tinder and Bumble, two of the four dating apps that depend on geolocation data to function, prohibit the usage of such apps.

How to Keep your Dating App Privacy Secure

  • Security of accounts: When it’s possible, use two-factor authentication and a strong, one-of-a-kind password (new window). Proton Pass is capable of creating secure 2FA codes and strong passwords for you.
  • Purchase a Proton Pass (new window): Links should be avoided, particularly those that use truncated URLs. Hackers will attempt to divert you from the dating app to other websites so they can more readily obtain your personal information. One of the most prevalent frauds on Tinder is this one. You can either copy and paste a link into https://www.checkshorturl.com/(new window) or hover your mouse over any link before clicking it.
  • Use a secure WiFi network to access your dating app at all times. Using a reliable VPN to secure your dating app’s internet connection is a far better solution (new window). This will strengthen the encryption of the app by one more level.
  • Think about signing up for a premium plan. If you upgrade to a subscription plan on many dating apps, you can access additional privacy features like burying your account or disabling location monitoring.
  • Social engineering and privacy: Never post your entire address, phone number, or workplace on social media. Users can submit details about their occupations and schooling on Tinder, Bumble, and Happn. 60% of the time, Kaspersky researchers were able to match a dating app profile to a Facebook or LinkedIn account with just this information and a first name.
    To stop trilateration assaults and trackers on dating apps, use a VPN. You can find trackers on almost all dating websites and apps that follow you throughout the internet. By preventing trackers from even loading, Proton VPN’s NetShield Ad-Blocker (new window) accelerates your internet connection. Additionally, it can prevent trackers in apps as well as in your browser, unlike other ad blockers.
  • Pick wisely when selecting your profile photos. The background of a picture can often reveal a lot of information, including information that could be used to identify you. Additionally, keep in mind that if you include an image from one of your social media accounts in your dating profile, a reverse image search could associate it with that account.
  • Keep your accounts on dating apps separate from those on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. Because of this, it is simple for hackers to link your online dating profile to your social network account. Additionally, if Facebook experienced a data breach, your information would be exposed (new window).
  • Use a different email address for dating apps and correspondence with potential matches. Rather, use a private email (new window) or an alias (new window) that is unique to that connection or app.
  • Disable location-sharing functions at all times: Give each of your matches a temporary phone number. You can get temporary phone numbers for a few weeks for free or for a little price by using services like Phoner or Burner. It is challenging to use such a temporary phone number on your dating app account, but it might buy you some time to meet in person before giving them your number.
    If something seems strange, try reverse image searching your match’s profile photo. If the photo appears to be from a modelling agency or a foreign celebrity, your search is probably leading you to a phoney account.
  • Don’t divulge any particulars that could be used to identify you. You will eventually have to divulge personal details. You are, after all, attempting to persuade someone that you are worthy of a meeting. Make an effort to discuss your preferences, goals, and interests more. Less “My favourite pizza place is on the corner of Main St. and 2nd Ave.” and more “I love pizza.” If someone asks for personal information that you are not yet comfortable providing, never be hesitant to say “no.”
  • Don’t send pictures of yourself to strangers. Images may include metadata that details the location and time of the photo’s capture. Make sure to erase the photo’s metadata (new window) before sharing it.
  • Avoid conversing with chatbots. Although it’s becoming more difficult to identify online bots, you can try putting some gibberish into a sentence, such as “I love a;lkjasdllkjf,” and seeing if the bot repeats the non-word or changes to a non-sequitur inquiry. (If it’s a person, you can always pretend that your phone fell.)
  • You should always say “No” if someone asks you to transfer them money on a dating app, unless you want to appear on The Tinder Swindler (new window).
  • Don’t add your Facebook matches as friends right away. Your friend and family network, as well as your previous activities and location, are all visible to anyone who has access to your Facebook account. Don’t friend them till after you’ve been dating for a month or two. (Alternatively—ideally—stop using Facebook(new window).)

Physical Security

Inform a friend that you will be attending and set up a meeting spot in the public domain. Additionally, instead of meeting at the same cafe or restaurant every week, decide to meet somewhere neutral.

I hope these tips on Privacy Settings and Data Security on Facebook Dating and our additional physical security was helpful?

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