The online dating industry generated revenue of over 200 million this year, with the U.S. alone being responsible for over 970 million of this revenue (Statista). Whether it’s for flirting, chatting, or something more serious, millions of people around the world use dating apps. And, like other industries with a strong online component, one of the issues with online dating is the security of your information. Your dating profile may contain important information about you, including your contact information, payment method used for a paid account, and if connected to another app, your hobbies and interests.
Cyberattacks are a fear that is common among people who have an account on an online website. These attacks can be directed towards you, meaning that the hacker wants to access your computer and steal your logins and passwords. Or, it can be an attack on the website or dating app, which will compromise account information of multiple users, including you. There are different ways in which cybersecurity companies and web developers are dealing with these issues:
An additional layer of authentication
One of the methods is to add another layer of authentication so that even if some information gets compromised, the hacker is not able to complete the attack. And, there are different ways in which companies are adding this additional security.
One way is to authenticate the device of the user. Many apps only ask you for your login and password, or they ask you to connect to your email or social media account. With the username and password, there is no direct connection with the device or devices used to access your account. This type of security is currently more relevant to the Internet of Things IoT network, so that the company running the app can ensure that authenticated users do not gain access. Intel has introduced this type of authentication.
A strong password is another way to ensure that you don’t have unauthorized users gaining easy access to your account. We see now that many companies have set up password guides to help you choose a strong password. Also, the length of the password is important and we see that many companies don’t accept passwords that are shorter than 8 characters or that don’t have a mix of upper and lower case letters and symbols.
A key concepts with passwords is password management. Most people have multiple accounts and need to type their passwords multiple times during the day. This leads them to use some sort of password manager, whether it’s their browser or a separate password manager. While this is the more convenient way to keep passwords, it may not be the most secure because your passwords are saved online or on your computer. The double authentication helps with this issue as well.
Passwords are of course only the keys to the door. With online dating, you also have to be careful about what happens after you open the door. There is a whole industry that exists around scamming people out of their money with fake personas. Also, when you are talking with another person who looks trustworthy, you may give some information to them that you shouldn’t have in retrospect. Of course, one solution you have is to talk with them via video, so you can ensure that their gender and pictures are what they have presented in the profile. But, despite easy availability of Skype and other video chat platform, catfishing is still a thing because people may be unaware or hesitant to use video chat.
Controlling where your information appears online
An issue with providing information online is that you may not have control over where that information is shared online. There may be other websites linking to your profile or someone using your profile without your authorization. This is why it’s important to manage the information available about you online. For example, your Tinder.com profile has your pics and if you have connected to your social media, your interests as well. If you decide to leave the platform for good, you should consider deleting your account instead of simply uninstalling the app.
But, if you have profiles on multiple web sites, and other websites are also allowed to share those accounts online, there may be many websites with your information.
Online dating has made it easier for us to find people in our area who also share our interests. The U.S. alone is responsible for almost half of the revenue generated by this industry. At the same time, the fact that online dating apps require you to provide pictures and authenticate your personal information, like your number/email, means that you need to be careful about your security. Besides being careful about what information you share, you can also make your account is more secure by selecting multiple authentications, complex passwords, and also being actively involved in removing any information you don’t want to be out there anymore. By being careful, you can not only enjoy the benefits offered by online dating but also make sure that you don’t get catfished or hacked.