Access permissions create security risks for users of dating apps

dating apps
Credit: Georgejmclittle/Shutterstock

New dating apps appear on the market every single day, but many users are unaware that these apps come with security risks in the form of requiring “access permissions” which can grant access to malware, stalkers and phishing attempts.

Reviewers at DatingSitesReviews.com.au have examined 13 well-known Android dating apps in Australia with regards to their potential risks, among them Tinder, Zoosk and eHarmony. The focus concentrates on all access permissions which the app requires be granted for use. These include in-app purchases, access to contacts, photos, data and the user’s location.

Dating app users are basically exposed in digital security terms:

  • 80% of tested apps also collect data regarding the location of smartphones, therefore allowing them to create a comprehensive map of where users have been as well as whether they live, work and what hobbies they have.
  • 15% of apps under investigation also grant access to SMS contacts – not only reading the users’ text messages, but also without their knowledge.
Analysis of the dangers of mobile use: access permissions of 13 leading dating apps for Android systems in Australia (C) DatingSitesReviews.com.au
Analysis of the dangers of mobile use: access permissions of 13 leading dating apps for Android systems in Australia (C) DatingSitesReviews.com.au

 

“One scenario would be that unauthorised SMS orders are being made via your smartphone. And then you have, for example, a year’s subscription for special cat food that you haven’t ordered,” Dirk Pflitsch of Datingsitesreviews.com.au warns.

When it comes to safety, dating apps from traditional matchmaking sites like eHarmony are probably the best because they smallest number of required access permissions, Pflitsch says.

The full study is here [PDF].

 

www.datingsitesreviews.com.au is an independent observer of the Australian online dating industry. Here you can get the results of leading singles portals and tips for flirting on the Internet. It is part of the metaflake network, which operates from UK, Germany and Switzerland in 14 countries.

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