As if online dating weren't fraught with enough pitfalls, an IBM study published yesterday found that 26 of 41 popular Android dating apps, or 63%, had "medium to severe" security vulnerabilities that could leave users open to hacks, Reuters reports. And almost half of the companies reviewed for the report had workers who tapped into such apps—and then used the same phone at work, opening up their employers to cyberissues as well. "Your contacts list … your stored images. [Hackers] can actually also potentially access features on the device—so your camera, your microphone, even your GPS location," says the security intelligence director of IBM Security, per CBS New York.
How likely (and incredibly creepy) is that? The report reveals 73% of top dating apps can tell your past and present GPS locations, while 34% can get into your camera. Which means, on a not-so-romantic front, that hackers can possibly stalk your daily activity, scroll through images, and even take over your dating profile, IBM's Security Intelligence notes. And if the electronic intruders can hijack your camera and mic, they can potentially spy on business meetings and access sensitive company data on your phone. IBM says it doesn't want to discourage people from using the apps, but it preaches some common-sense tips: Don't give out too much personal info on dating sites, don't ignore the security updates and patches your phone occasionally asks you to make, and mix up your passwords for all online accounts and email addresses. (Maybe this informational STD app will keep hackers away.)