Anyone who has used the popular new dating app Tinder in recent months may have experienced a breach in personal security. An Internet research company, Include Security, discovered a flaw in the programming of Tinder that has made it possible for the app’s users to access the exact location of other Tinder users. This dangerous technical issue of the Tinder dating app has been compromising user security for months now.
Tinder, a newly-popular dating app helps smartphone users find love simply, all with the swipe of a cell phone screen. Users of this app are shown images of other Tinder users, which are taken from the member’s Facebook account. When the photos appear on a user’s phone, they simply have to swipe their touchscreen one way or the opposite to indicate their physical attraction, or lack of interest. If both parties are interested, each receives a notification and a secure means of contacting their match. However, as to reduce hurt feelings, tinder users are not told who and how many people were not attracted to them. This new app, created in 2012, has college students and tech-savvy individuals alike hopeful with the thought of making a love connection via smartphone. While the app has helped make over 500 million connections, the Tinder dating app has been compromising user security.
When Tinder users make a connection, they are given a general location of their match, including the town or city that their potential connection lives in. This information has been deemed necessary for users to have access to, as they wish to meet up with singles who live nearby. If after conversation the pair decides that they wish to further their connection and meet in person, the users can choose to share an address where they want to meet. However, a recent inspection of the app by an Internet security site has found that instead of simply giving users approximate locale of their match, Tinder users have the ability to find the exact latitude and longitude of their match easily – a highly dangerous security flaw.
The company that discovered this security breach, Include Security, is a white-hat hacking company which works to find coding errors in sites and apps to enhance user experience. If a flaw is found, Include Security gives the website or app a deadline of three months to ameliorate the error before publicly publishing it’s findings, thus destroying the credibility of the product, application or company. Tinder was notified of it’s monumental security breach in late October of 2013, but avoided responding to Include Security or fixing the problem until the end of Dec. 2013, leaving Tinder user’s exact locations exposed to to strangers for months.
This massive security breach, in which the Tinder dating app has been compromising user security for months, has left millions of user’s locations exposed. While sources have confirmed that the coding problem in question has been fixed since late 2013, thus keeping the user’s locations more secure and less precise, Tinder has made minimal public statements about the security flaw and their attempts to find a solution.
By Allison Longstreet