Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day ~ Dating apps leave business vulnerable warns IBM

With mushrooming of Corporate MNCs, there is globalisation and lot to learn from what happens around the globe.  One advt is to say ‘think globally – act locally’ – while nothing can be generalised, here is one which clearly shows that global problems are different and that way one can be happy of not being part of it. 

In the past few years lot has been done to promote 14th Feb – as many ensure pushing their sales. Globally, there are lot of apps on the market for young folks in search of love: Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, to name a few- all aiming at potential mates judge one another based on looks. Times reports that Willow, a new app hitting the App Store  is seeking a different approach. Instead of swiping left or right based on the first selfie you see, you’re prompted to answer a set of three questions—written by users—that are designed to spark up a conversation. What’s more, users decide when and if they wish to share photos with other users; at first, the answers to these questions are all future dates see. The app’s founder Michael Bruch says Willow puts the “social” back in social media. Bruch, now 24, was fresh out of New York University when he launched the app last year. He says he was looking to fill a void he noticed when using dating apps that focused on swipes rather than what you like. “You can match with a bunch of people that you think are good looking but you don’t really know much about them until you start talking to them,” Bruch tells.  So the archaic saying of it is not beauty alone that makes a match !

In the Tamil movie Kadhalar Dhinam – comedian  Goundamani making a comeback of sorts  in a DiCaprio's Titanic haircut would try to pursue romance over the Internet.  In the initial days of Internet, which perhaps continues – there were so many fake IDs ~ and looking for love online was sought after.  While none can prevent anyone from falling in love – there is a different dimension to this, from the technical perspective !  There are reports that  dating apps could be leaving businesses vulnerable to cyber attacks.  Millions of users logging onto dating apps from their company smartphone could be exposing themselves and their employers to hacking, spying and theft, according to a study by International Business Machines Corp (IBM).   IBM security researchers said almost two thirds (26 of 41) dating apps they analysed on Google Inc's Android mobile platform had medium or high severity vulnerabilities.

Some of the dating apps have become popular on account of the freedom they allow users, helping them to search for potential love interests based on a range of factors, such as location and hobbies, and to send instant messages. They are cheaper than traditional dating sites or often free. IBM found employees used vulnerable dating apps in nearly 50 per cent of the companies sampled for its research. Using the same phone for work and play, a phenomenon known as "bring your own device", or BYOD, means users and their employers are both open to potential cyber-attacks. "The trouble with BYOD is that, if not managed properly, the organizations might be leaking sensitive corporate data via employee-owned devices," said the IBM report.

The IBM study reveals that many of these dating applications have access to additional features on mobile devices such as the camera, microphone, storage, GPS location and mobile wallet billing information, which in combination with the vulnerabilities may make them exploitable to hackers. Users may let their guard down when they anticipate receiving interest from a potential date. That’s just the sort of moment that hackers thrive on, the researchers say. Some of the vulnerable apps could be reprogrammed by hackers to send an alert that asks users to click for an update or to retrieve a message that, in reality, is just a ploy to download malware onto their device.
A  hacker can change content and images on a dating profile, impersonate the user and communicate with other app users, or leak personal information externally to affect the reputation of a user’s identity. This poses a risk to other users, as well, since a hijacked account can be used by an attacker to trick other users into sharing personal and potentially compromising information. The  basic rule is to check the permissions any app asks for, use unique passwords for  each account  and use only trusted connections for accessing the web. Companies should allow employees to only download applications from authorized app stores such as Google Play, iTunes, and the corporate app store, IBM advises.

Concluding with a news of a Texas teenager  who reportedly got fired from her new job less than 24 hours before she started after she used a couple of choice expletives to describe it on Twitter. “Ew I start this f*** a** job tomorrow,” tweeted the teen with username @Cellla_. CBS reports that the job she was referring to was at a branch of Jet’s Pizza in Mansfield, Texas. Unfortunately for the luckless teen, her tweet was spotted by store owner Robert Waple who terminated the employment on social media.  Waple reportedly last tweeted in 2009, and logged on only to publicly terminate Cella’s employment.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Feb 2015.

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