Hackers steal more than 70,000 photos of Tinder users and put them on cyber crime sites ‘to create fake profiles for catfishing frauds’
- Criminals only stole photographs and data from female accounts it was found
- The stolen photos have been discovered by cybersecurity firm White Ops
- Comes as some dating apps found to have been leaking personal information
More than 70,000 photos of Tinder users have been stolen and shared by a cyber-crime website, it has been reported.
The criminals only stole photographs and data from female accounts and it is feared that the images could be used to set up fake profiles for catfishing scams.
The photos were discovered by cybersecurity firm White Ops and were accompanied by a text file containing about 16,000 unique Tinder user IDs, according to Gizmodo.
More than 70,000 photos of Tinder users have been stolen and shared by a cyber-crime website, it has been reported (file image)
It is unclear exactly what the images will be used for but it could be to target and harass the users themselves or to generate fake user profiles on other platforms.
Aaron DeVera, a researcher at the cybersecurity firm White Ops, said they discovered the images on a website known for trading in malicious software.
It is also possible that the information could also be used to train a facial recognition product.
A Tinder official told Gizmodo that the use of any photos or information outside the confines of the app is strictly prohibited.
The company said it will take whatever steps it could to have the data removed offline.
DeVera said that he is particular disturbed by the fact that whoever amassed the profile data is ‘very openly targeting female-presenting users.’
Aaron DeVera, a researcher at the cybersecurity firm White Ops, said they discovered the images on a website known for trading in malicious software (file image)
He added: ‘Dumps of data such as this typically attract fraudsters, who use it for making large collections of convincing fake accounts on other platforms.
‘Stalkers might use this in a more targeted manner, in an effort to add to a collection of data to use against an individual. Long-term concerns is that these pictures could be used for fraud and privacy violations.’
He also implied that ‘raunchy’ images could be among those leaked, saying: ‘Given the context of this being a dating app, there are photos a person may not necessarily want presented to the public.’
It comes as some dating apps were found to have been leaking personal information to advertising tech companies in a possible violation of European data privacy laws.
This was revealed by a report from The Norwegian Consumer Council on Tuesday.
The council, a government-funded nonprofit group, commissioned cybersecurity company Mnemonic to study 10 Android mobile apps.
It found that the apps sent user data to at least 135 different third party services involved in advertising or behavioural profiling.
HOW CAN YOU CHECK IF YOU ARE BEING CATFISHED?
Dating apps and online websites are plagued with fraudulent profiles, known as ‘catfishes’.
‘Catfishing’ originated as a term for the process of luring people into false relationships, however, it has also come to encompass people giving out false information about themselves more generally.
These profiles often use images of another person to allow users to pretend to be someone else in order to get a date, or scam money from a lonelyheart.
Fortunately, there are certain ways to check if these profiles are real people or if they are bogus accounts —
1. Google reverse image search
This is probably the most valuable tool for catching out a catfish and can be done via Google.
To kickstart the process, people need only right-click the photos that are arousing their suspcions, copy the URL and paste it into images.google.com.
The search engine will search to see if the image has been used elsewhere.
If you find the picture associated with a different person to the one you’re speaking to on your dating app, it’s likely you’ve met a catfish!
2. Use an app called Veracity
It is useful for dating sites such as Tinder, Bumble and Grindr as it allows images from Dropbox or Camera roll (or similar) to be cross-referenced against any matching results.
Load the app, then select a screenshot of the suspicious dating app profile from your camera roll to launch the search.
The app will tell you if the picture belongs to somebody else.
3. Check their Facebook
Almost everyone who has a profile on a dating site will have a Facebook account (most dating apps require users to have one, after all!) so it is always advisable to track down your potential suitor on other forms of social media.
4. Google them
Google and other search engines have an extensive repertoire and most people will crop up in a search.
In this day and age, it’s unusual for someone to have nothing on Google.
Have a search through for them or their relatives, things they’ve said or posted in the past. If there’s nothing, that should raise alarm bells.
5. Skype/Facetime/Video Chat
For prospective romantic engagements, seeing the face of someone you are virtually talking to is essential.
Anyone that asks for money online or via an app is likely to be a fraud.
This is probably a scam and should provide immediate red flags.
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