Tinder Falls Victim to Major Data Breach as 70,000 Photos Are Shared Online
The incident is said to have affected 16,000 users
Last week it was reported than more than 70,000 Tinder photos of women were being shared on a cyber-crime website known for trading malicious software without user consent, alongside a file containing 16,000 user IDs. While the intention of the data dump is yet unclear, it raises concerns around the accessibility of the information and the moves Tinder are making to protect its users and their data.
“The news that Tinder has suffered a hack of this magnitude is hugely problematic for the dating giant,” says Tom Chivers, Digital Privacy Advocate at ProPrivacy. “The fact that the hack targeted only women suggests that this data dump could be used for the creation of fake profiles on other dating sites.”
It follows a scenario in 2017 when a researcher at Google-bought, machine-learning platform Kaggle gathered 40,000 Tinder selfies from users in the Bay Area in order to create a facial dataset for its technology.
“While Tinder explicitly says in their terms and conditions that they prohibit the use of scraping tools, hackers have found ways to backwards engineer API capabilities and collect data en-masse,” Chivers continues. “This does not bode well for the privacy and security of their users.”
According to Statista, Tinder had an audience size of almost 8 million in 2019, surpassing other notable dating apps like Bumble and match.com to become one of the most popular dating apps. It was launched in 2012.
While a report on Gizmodo described how an official from Tinder responded that using photographs or data outside of the app is prohibited and would take steps to attempt to have the data removed, one can only hope the issue is given the priority it deserves.
As Chivers concludes, “in the world of dating, safe spaces are essential. Tinder has to do better when it comes to securing the data of its users, both from hackers and the third parties it willingly shares your information with.”