Kaspersky: In the last decade, digitalization has permeated almost every aspect of our lives and the field of communication is the one that has been most affected.
People's love lives are no exception and with Valentine's Day approaching, both singles and couples are under intense pressure to finalize their plans for the weekend.
For singles, however, this requires an extra step - finding a partner - and dating apps are here to help. Or maybe not;
Nothing is as easy as you hope, even in the digital world. Kaspersky researchers assessed the dangers and challenges on the path to romance and found that digital criminals "love" love affairs.
Popular dating apps used around the world, such as Tinder and Badoo, often become bait for malicious mobile software to spread or steal personal information in order to later bombard users with unwanted ads or even spend their money on expensive subscriptions. . Such files have nothing to do with legal applications, as they use only the name and sometimes the design of authentic dating services.
Malware analysis using the names of more than 20 popular dating apps and the word "dating" showed that 1.963 unique files were spread in 2019 under the guise of legal apps. Specifically, two-thirds of them pretended to be Tinder (1.262 files) and the remaining one-sixth were connected to Badoo (263 files). Both are globally recognized applications.
The danger posed by these malicious files varies from file to file, and ranges from Trojans that can download other malware to files that send expensive SMS, adware, making every possible "ping" on a user's cell phone a potentially annoying ad notification instead of a message from a possible appointment. .
For example, one of the applications that at first glance looks like Tinder is actually a banking Trojan that constantly requires access rights, and when it acquires them, it grants all the necessary rights to steal money from the user. Another, called "Settings" immediately after installation, presents a fake error message and later disappears, most likely returning with unwanted ads a few days later.
Cybercriminals who specialize in phishing also do not miss the opportunity to feed on those seeking love. Fake copies of popular dating applications and websites, such as Match.com and Tinder, are flooding the internet. Users are required to leave their personal data or connect to applications through their social media accounts. The result is not surprising: the data will be used or sold later by cybercriminals, while the user will get nothing in return.
Statistics also show that interest in the subject of love is growing as Valentine's Day approaches. For example, the number of clicks on Phishing PeopleMedia's version more than doubled almost a month before Valentine's Day.
The number of clicks on the phishing version of the PeopleMedia website found by Kaspersky products
"Love is one of the topics of interest to people around the world and, of course, this means that cybercriminals are also interested. Online dating has made our lives easier. At the same time, however, it brought to the fore new dangers on the path of love. We advise users to be careful and use legal versions of applications that are available in official application stores. And, of course, we wish you good luck in trying to find your ideal match ", comments Vladimir Kuskov, head of advanced threat research and software classification at Kaspersky.
To avoid digital risks before Valentine's Day, Kaspersky recommends:
- Always check usage permissions to see what your installed applications are allowed to do.
- Do not install applications from unreliable sources, even if they are actively advertised, and block the installation of applications from unknown sources in your smartphone settings.
- Find out more about the dating site you are going to visit: check its reputation online and try to get feedback from other users.
- Use a reliable security solution
To use secure dating apps, Kaspersky recommends:
- Avoid sharing too much personal information with strangers.
- Make sure the person you meet is real, as scammers often use fake profiles for scams.