While the Ashley Madison hack is still haunting users, there is a growing threat of fake dating sites that contain myriad threats for those online.

According to Kaspersky, in 2019 it observed 275 threats pretending to be one of 20 popular dating apps and websites. While these numbers appear low, the security firm reports that 4 451 attacks originated from those websites.

While attackers made use of Tinder, Bumble and Zoosk to peddle their malware, Tinder was by far the most popular choice among cybercriminals.

A fifth of all cases detected by Kaspersky used Tinder to lure unsuspecting users in.

“The danger these malicious files bring varies from file to file, ranging from Trojans that can download other malware to ones that send an expensive SMS, to adware, making it likely that every ping a user gets is some sort of annoying ad notification rather than a message from a potential date,” explains Kaspersky.

The firm says that one instance of a fake Tinder application was actually a banking trojan which requests accessibility in your settings, allowing an attacker to steal money from you without your knowledge.

Fake dating apps aren’t your only concern.

Cybercriminals often use fake websites purporting to be Tinder or Match.com but rather than a fishing date, you’ll encounter a phishing date.

“Users are required to leave their personal data or connect to the applications via their social media account. The result is not surprising: the data will later be used or sold by cybercriminals, while the user will be left with nothing,” says Kaspersky.

So how do you know if you will find love from a dating app or website or a cybercriminal?

Kaspersky’s advice is to check application permissions when installing an app. For instance, the real Tinder app requires permission to access your location, storage and camera at most. The legitimate app will also request permission to access certain features as and when it needs them.

There is no reason for a dating to app to require access to other applications so scrutinise every permission listed.

Perhaps most importantly, download apps from trusted sources AKA the Google Play Store. While that means some apps won’t be available at all depending on your location, Google Play Store’s security measures mean you are less likely to download malware.

It’s also recommended that you do a bit of research before signing up on a dating website or app. Check out user reviews and try to gauge whether the app is legitimate or not.

Stay safe out there folks.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]