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We also set up profiles that, while looking as genuine as possible, would not overly appeal to normal users but entice attackers based on the profile’s profession.That let us establish a baseline for several locations and see if there were any active attacks in those areas.Once the target is compromised, the attacker can attempt to hijack more machines with the endgame of accessing the victim’s professional life and their company’s network.Indeed, such attacks are feasible—but do they actually happen? Targeted attacks on the Israeli army early this year used provocative social network profiles as entry points.The first stage of our research seeks to answer these main questions: In almost all of the online dating networks we explored, we found that if we were looking for a target we knew had a profile, it was easy to find them.That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as online dating networks allow you to filter people using a wide range of factors—age, location, education, profession, salary, not to mention physical attributes like height and hair color.We narrowed the scope of our research down to Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, and Jdate, which we selected because of the amount of personal information shown, the kind of interaction that transpires, and the lack of initial fees.We then created profiles in various industries across different regions.
Location is very potent, especially when you consider the use of Android Emulators that let you set your GPS to any place on the planet.With a little bit of social engineering, it’s easy enough to dupe the user into clicking on a link.It can be as vanilla as a classic phishing page for the dating app itself or the network the attacker is sending them to.We gauged this by sending messages between our test accounts with links to known bad sites.They arrived just fine and weren’t flagged as malicious.
Romance scams are also nothing new—but how much of these are done on online dating networks?