30% OFF Pride collection code: USAPRIDE! Free Shipping over $99

Stranger Danger: Hackers Can Easily Find Your Location On Dating Apps

by Rob Smith May 23, 2016

 

grindr-1

If you think online dating apps are just a bit creepy, then this latest study is about to freak you all the way out.

A straight Wired writer decided to do a little experiment with Grindr to see just how secure the app is with location data. Spoiler alert: it isn’t. At all.

The writer installed Grindr, made his profile pic a cat, then turned off the “show distance” feature. He then contacted computer security researcher Nguyen Phong Hoang in Japan and gave him his general Brooklyn neighborhood. Then, this happened:

Within fifteen minutes, Hoang had identified the intersection where I live. Ten minutes after that, he sent me a screenshot from Google Maps, showing a thin arc shape on top of my building, just a couple of yards wide. “I think this is your location?” he asked. In fact, the outline fell directly on the part of my apartment where I sat on the couch talking to him. Hoang says his Grindr-stalking method is cheap, reliable, and works with other gay dating apps like Hornet and Jack’d, too.

It turns out, Hoang and two other researchers just published their findings that they can pinpoint the location of pretty much anyone who uses these apps to within a few feet, even when they attempt to hide their location.

Why is this scary?

That added degree of invasion means that even particularly privacy-oriented gay daters—which could include anyone who perhaps hasn’t come out publicly as LGBT or who lives in a repressive, homophobic regime—can be unwittingly targeted. “You can easily pinpoint and reveal a person,” says Hoang. “In the US that’s not a problem [for some users,] but in Islamic countries or in Russia, it can be very serious that their information is leaked like that.”

The rest of the article is here, and while it’s a bit technical, it’s well worth a read if you want to understand how all of this works. As always, be careful out there using the apps.

It turns out you’re not as safe as you think.




Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Author


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Think

And the winners of the 2017 Queerties are…

by David Reddish February 22, 2017

Congrats to all the winners and nominees!

Continue Reading →

Two super hot models rescue seven children from freezing cold pond in NYC

by Graham Gremore February 22, 2017

"I was in this park for a reason tonight," Jonas says. "I could’ve been anywhere right now but I was 100 yards away from kids who are drowning."

Continue Reading →

Italy’s anti-discrimination head embroiled in gay sex club scandal

by John Russell February 22, 2017

Francesco Spano is accused of funneling tens of thousands of euros to three gay sex venues.

Continue Reading →