Many people are wondering what´s going on with hackers and online dating sites lately. It suddenly seems like things are shifting, and banks or government websites are no longer interesting hacking targets. Attacking online dating sites is the new trend. And, there´s a reason for that.
First of all, we would have to start by saying that people´s personal data is nowadays more valuable than credit card numbers. In the black market personal information like addresses, phone numbers, family names, etc are valuable. Why is that? Criminal networks have a big database of potential scamming victims, and many of them have something in common: they are users of online dating. It´s more profitable to lure someone into giving their money voluntarily –because they´re in love- than trying to steal money out of their bank account all at once. Internet criminals with experience can scam thousands of dollars each week, and the victims send them the cash voluntarily!
The more a fraudster knows about his victim, the easier it will be to manipulate him/her.
The other reason is that this information can also be used to create fake profiles, using real people´s information. Identity theft. It´s harder to discover that someone is lying to you when you can check online that this person really exists, that he lives where he says he does, and has a daughter with that name. Sound tricky? It is. Thanks to people who share too much online, criminals can now take a real profile of a real person, and assume a real identity. In Asia, for example it often takes a Philippines private investigator to uncover the truth, and by that time, it could be too late.
These 2 facts have boosted the prices that criminals are willing to pay for the personal data of people, and of course this has led to hackers attacking the online dating sites. What is worse is that the security of most of these dating websites is very poor. Banks invest a lot of money in making secure websites, because they know they are a target and there will always be hackers trying to access people´s accounts. But, online dating sites don´t feel the same about security. Since they don´t deal with money, their concept of safety is posting an article on avoiding scams, but there is little or no security regarding users' data. Some websites like Match.com are being sued for such security issues.
What can you do as a user? Don´t share too much information online. Be skeptical. Try creating profiles that don´t say much about your personal information, and before giving out anything personal, make sure you verify the company, individual or website is legitimate and real.
© 2013 A Hathaway