It is difficult to underestimate the importance and role of the Internet in modern relationships – keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances, family friends or looking for romantic partners. While a whole new world of possibilities has opened up, it is well known that the internet is a huge place that hides threats to users who have not taken the proper steps to browse it. According to a recent survey conducted in Greece during the period of mass lockdown, Greeks basically use their smartphone (63.3%) and much less their laptop (15.1%) for their internet access. There, the adverse situations they encounter vary: more than half (55.2%) have fallen victim to fake news, 1 in 3 has been approached by people who hid their true identity and intentions, 26.9% have received requests for assistance personal data (personal data, banking data), while cases of sexual harassment (15.1%), electronic fraud (12.4%) and cyberbullying (7.3%) are also frequent.
At a broader level of internet browsing, while the vast majority say they care about both privacy and anonymity when surfing the internet and staying safe from cyber threats, in fact only half (49.1%) have installed antivirus programs on the devices they use to access the internet and applications and only 16.3% have installed VPNs on the devices they use to access the internet and applications.
In particular, however, when the use of the internet concerns more subtle, personal issues, such as searching for a sexual partner in applications and dating sites, then people can prove to be much more vulnerable to cyber scams, while the applications themselves have some vulnerabilities to be exploited by cybercriminals. The same survey may reveal that more than half of Greek users (53.6%) believe that these applications provide a fairly high level of privacy and protection against cyber threats without the need for additional protection measures (antiviral programs, VPN), but in fact they need special care when using them, as the dangers abound, even for the most popular of them (Tinder, Badoo, etc.).
According to Kaspersky Channel Manager for Greece and Cyprus, the results of the research showed that Greeks value their internet privacy and are increasingly aware of the threats to which they are exposed in the internet world, from fake news to sexual harassment and data theft. However, the fact that only 1 out of 6 users use a VPN to protect their connection, and just over half use some form of antivirus protection when browsing the web, means that extra steps need to be taken to ensure that they can enjoy security the benefits of the internet world as a whole.
More specifically, according to a worldwide research on the types of threats posed by apps and dating sites, one of the potential threats is that cybercriminals can figure out who is hiding behind a pseudonym based on data provided by the users themselves. For example, Tinder allows anyone to see a user’s specified work or study location. Using this information, it is possible to find social media accounts and real usernames. In addition, most of the popular applications show the distance between you and the person you are interested in. When moving and entering data about the distance between the two of you, it is easy to determine your exact location.
In addition, what applies to most applications, is that they give authorization through Facebook, with the result that the lack of certificate verification can lead to the theft of the temporary authorization key in the form of a badge. These are valid for 2-3 weeks, during which time criminals have access to some of the victim’s social media account data, along with full access to their dating app profile. Another serious issue arises from the possibilities that these applications give to people with superuser rights. Thus, cybercriminals with superuser rights can easily extract the decryption key and gain access to files and confidential information.
Finally, cybercriminals who specialize in phishing also do not miss the opportunity to feed on those seeking love. Fake copies of popular dating apps and websites like Match.com and Tinder are flooding the internet. Users are required to provide their personal data or connect to applications through their social media accounts. The result is not surprising: the data will be used or sold later by cybercriminals, while the user will get nothing in return.
So the following are recommended :
- VPN usage.
- Find out more about the dating site you are going to visit: check its reputation online and try to find feedback from other users.
- Sharing only the necessary information with strangers.
- Do not add social networking accounts to the public profile of the dating application; do not give the real name, surname, place of work.
- Do not disclose the email address, whether it is personal or business.
- Do not use applications on unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
- Use a reliable security solution that provides advanced protection for Macs as well as desktops and laptops.