‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind’
These words immortalized by Shakespeare have stood the test of time and stand true even in the 21st century. However, the medium of finding love in today’s world has changed drastically. Gone are the days when people would write letters, serenade their way into their loved one’s hearts,s or simply walk up and strike conservation. In this digital world, love is searched for digitally.
And banking on this opportunity, a number of apps and websites have popped up promoting the online dating game. With promises of finding their one true soulmate using their powerful algorithms, people are reeled in and thus begin their journey of swiping through hundreds of people and choosing the ones they are attracted to.
However, running a dating website is not an easy task. When providing a list of possible partners to their users, websites have to keep in mind the likes and dislikes of these people. And to help out with this daunting task comes data. Right from a user’s birth date to their home address, data is accumulated, stored, processed, and chugged out as potential matches for the user.
Even though data is regarded as the greatest boon in searching for a soulmate, it can prove to be the greatest bane when it comes to your personal life. If this data falls into the wrong hands, it won’t take long for your life to come crashing down. As mentioned earlier, dating websites utilize a lot of personal information to operate.
These can include but are not limited to, your name, phone number, address, device info, credit card information, etc. And therefore, it is the responsibility of these websites to provide top-of-the-class security to protect such private and confidential information.
However, it’s usually not the case. When it comes to website security, serious lapses have been found in major websites according to studies conducted by private institutes.
In 2015, a group of hackers, calling themselves “The Impact Team” launched a successful cyberattack on Ashley Madison, a popular extramarital affair website back then. Over 60 GB of personal user data was leaked by these hackers on the Tor network for the entire worldview.
The file contained personal information ranging from ordinary people to A-list celebrities. Recently a hacker leaked the personal data of over 2.28 million users of the dating website MeetMindful.com. The 1.2 GB file has been dumped across popular hacking forums where it will probably be used by miscreants for their own personal gain.
The lack of proper security practices led to an attack of this magnitude. That’s why implementing good security measures is the need of the hour for dating websites.
It has also been observed that some users tend to use their company devices or email addresses while creating accounts on dating websites. This can have serious repercussions, not just for the employee but for the organization as a whole.
Say that you used your work address for opening up an account on a dating website. And like half of the population, you used the same password you use for all your other accounts. If a hacker is able to exploit the website database and gain access to these credentials, he would not only have a treasure trove of personal information on users of the website but quite possibly the entire business network.
They can wield this information to not only blackmail and extract money from you but also launch another cyberattack targeted at the organization you work for. Organizational networks are usually considered the backbone of the company.
If a hacker gains access to these servers, it can quite possibly wreak havoc on the company. For public organizations or MNCs, having even an hour of network downtime can result in a revenue loss of up to thousands of dollars. Not to mention the drop in company reputation and stock prices that usually accompany such cyberattacks.
Therefore, the root of all this mayhem needs to be nipped in the bud by dating websites. Having a strong security foundation is just a start. Dating websites need to establish a good internal team who are constantly on vigil for such security exploits.
They need to uphold their user’s personal data at a higher level of security so as to prevent this information from falling into the wrong hands. Every website has potential security flaws lying underneath its hood. However, it’s the duty of the website owner to ensure that those issues are properly addressed and particularly dating websites as they contain private data on almost millions of users.
In today’s world, finding love online has become a huge trend as it allows you to connect with other people who you might’ve never come across. Online dating removes various barriers that were set in place by traditional dating scenarios.
And dating apps hold the power to connect two potential matches with each other. However, a wise man once said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Dating websites need to acknowledge the fact that they hold the power to either make or break an individual’s life.
And to protect their customer’s privacy as well as solidify their reputation in their respective field websites these websites need to employ top-of-the-line security standards.
Lastly, it is also the responsibility of the user to conduct good online vigilance. They should ensure that their work life and personal life should not interfere at any cost. Passwords should be changed periodically as well as the same password shouldn’t be employed across multiple websites.
Password managers are available for those who have time to remember their passwords. 2 Factor Authentication stands to be one of the most reliable ways to remain protected in the event of a major hack. These are some ways that users can protect themselves against cyberattacks if they ever fall victim to them.
We hope that we were able to emphasize the need for strong security practices that dating website owners need to keep in mind in order to protect their user’s interests.