OKCupid security flaw exposed “millions of women” to potential harm

OKCupid security flaw exposed “millions of women” to potential harm
(Image credit: Getty)

OKCupid is considered to be one of the best dating sites and apps in the US, but it looks like users might want to reconsider their online matchmaking software after an investigation revealed a security flaw that has put “millions of women” at risk. The research was performed by Cybernews and it found that it was possible to retrieve the last known location ID of any OKCupid user, meaning that a hacker would be able to track your exact location while you were using the app.

Cybernews was able to expose this vulnerability by intercepting data moving from the app to the server using a MITM (man in the middle) proxy, the same technique used to identify weaknesses in free VPNs which we reported on last month. The report also showed that hackers would be able to use the Location ID to track the distance between themselves and their victim in a 10-to-20 meter radius, which is alarming to say the least.

After discovering the security flaw, OKCupid has since fixed the vulnerability and it is no longer possible to track someone’s location using the app, but this was still a huge oversight on its part and it highlights how vulnerable users can be online. 

The dangers of online dating

According to a survey by Pew Research Center, six-in-ten women under the age of 35 say that they’ve been harassed by someone online after they had already said they were not interested. We also covered an earlier survey by Pew  which found that while 57% of women would describe their experience with online dating apps as positive, they are still much more likely to have a negative experience than men.

As we continue to embrace online technology in every aspect of our lives, it’s becoming increasingly important to protect ourselves from potential threats and attacks online. Many users are now turning to the best VPN service to help keep their identity and location anonymous when they’re online. Beyond that, the best antivirus software is as popular today as it was twenty years ago when we were all panicking about Y2K and the end of civilization.

Ian Stokes

Ian Stokes is the Tech Editor here at Top Ten Reviews. He has extensive experience in tech and games journalism, with work published on IGN, Kotaku UK, Waypoint, GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, and many more. You'll find him covering everything from smartphones and home computers to 3D printers and headphones. He's also our resident cocktail expert.