Some 70,000 photos of dating platform Tinder users are being shared by members of an online cybercrime forum.
The report which details the breach, published by Gizmodo, says this raises concerns about the potential for abusive use of the photos.
The hack – which was discovered by White Ops researcher Aaron DeVera – solely targeted female users of the app, resulting in thousands of personal images leaked online.
In a statement issued to ITWeb, Tom Chivers, digital privacy advocate at ProPrivacy, says the news that Tinder has suffered a hack of this magnitude is hugely problematic for the dating giant.
“The fact that the hack targeted only women suggests this data dump could be used for the creation of fake profiles on other dating sites. A worrying implication for the users affected, given they could now have their data used for catfishing or fraudulent accounts they have nothing to do with,” Chivers says.
“If you aren’t willing to offer up photos of yourself, you aren’t allowed on the app; this is how Tinder operates.”
On Tinder, photos of yourself boast necessity or else you are not allowed to continue making a profile. The dating giant, a part of Match Group and owned by InterActiveCorp (IAC), are therefore duty-bound to protect this data.
However, this isn't the first time the dating app has seen imagery misused.
Three years ago, 40,000 photos surfaced in an online forum – the purpose, reportedly, was to train facial recognition algorithms.
While Tinder explicitly says in their Terms and Conditions that they prohibit the use of scraping tools, hackers have found ways to backwards engineer API capabilities and collect data en masse.
According to Gizmodo, a Tinder official has said that the company has invested additional resources in an effort to address misuse of its app since the incident.
“In the world of dating, safe spaces are essential," Chivers said.
"Tinder has to do better when it comes to securing the data of its users, both from hackers and the third-parties it willingly shares your information with.”
Main image by @bellahadid