Dating app users urged to investigate accounts they match with
SINGAPORE — Before hoping for romance with someone whom you “matched” with in a mobile dating application, investigate first if the account is a bot and is making you fall, not in love, but into a trap.
A cybersecurity expert on Tuesday said cybercriminals may be taking advantage of legitimate users of dating apps to commit crime.
“They set up some accounts of robot, so when you match with this person, it will send you a message like ‘Hi, how are you, honey?’ As soon as you reply, there will be another message saying, ‘I’m fine.’ It’s all scripted,” said David Jacoby, senior security researcher at cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab.
At the sidelines of the three-day Security Analyst Summit (SAS) hosted here by the company, Jacoby told INQUIRER.net that these bots will eventually send a message to legitimate users asking them to chat outside of the dating app and into another website.
He said the bots will then send a link that will redirect to a porn site, or a website spreading malware or demanding payment for a content.
“Whatever the intention is, eventually you will be redirected to somewhere else. It will say, ‘If you want to see more pictures of me, then you can go to this website,’” he said.
To spare themselves from unnecessary heartbreak, Jacoby urged dating app users to conduct some investigation first in other social media accounts of the profiles they match with.
“Sometimes the Instagram photo is from a different person than from the Facebook account, so if you see a Tinder profile and her name is Sophia, look at more photos on her Instagram, and [when] you go to Instagram and [saw that] the name of the person [with the same photo] is Anna, that does not match. It’s not the same person,” he said. “You really have to do some investigation.”
Jacoby said dating app users can trace if the one they were chatting with is a bot or not by asking questions that only a real person can answer, like what made him or her busy for the day.
“If I communicate with this robot and say ‘What did you have for breakfast this morning?’ And it replies ‘I’m fine.’ It’s weird but probably most people, they [just say] ‘Okay you’re fine. I’m fine too.’ They don’t think that they’re actually communicating with a robot that’s not answering their questions,” he said.
To avoid being victimized by cybercriminals and be redirected to unwanted websites, Jacoby also urged dating app users to not click suspicious links.
“To protect themselves, just don’t click the link or don’t be dumb. Don’t fall for this trick,” he said. /muf
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