Happy Wednesday SMRT Readers!
Today I want to discuss how technology can be the enemy of safety.
Hackers have discovered a serious flaw in a smart phone app for gay and straight dating. I would normally tag this post as a privacy related post, but with the present levels of GLBT hatred being as high as ever, and with the flaw in the application crossing over to the straight scene as well, I find it to be a safety issue. The flaws were found in the apps: “Grindr” (the gay dating app) and “Blendr” (straight dating app). The flaw allows the hackers to breach the login of the apps, and gives the hackers free access to the user’s profile, which can include personal details and explicit photos of the user. The safety issue here is that it also allows the hacker to see the exact locations of the user’s friends. The apps both work by using a smart phone’s GPS to show the user’s location, as well as other users’ locations. So, if an anti-GLBT hate group gets a hold of this hack, they can then track members of the GLBT community, which could lead to harassment or worse. This is also true for stalkers wanting to track members who use Blendr, again, leading to harassment or worse. I have said it before, and I will say it again… protect your personal information. Vulnerable people make great targets for criminals, and the flaw in these apps can make you even more vulnerable. Any time your smart phone wants to use your location, I suggest telling it No. I personally do not allow my Facebook friends to check me into places, and I keep the location settings turned off for this exact reason. Your phones, either Android based or Apple based, run apps that aren’t always as secure as they say they are. It isn’t the fault of the company developing the app, it is just a flaw in the programming. If you allow your information to be public, you run the risk of becoming a victim. Please be careful when using your apps and be even more careful anytime you are using a dating app or even a dating website. Please remember, if you are going to meet up with someone, make sure the first couple of dates you meet the person at a public location, and never let them know where you live!
Protect your information, protect yourself; Coffee is brewing people, it is time to wake up!!!