As the photographs were only of women, many experts believe that the hackers are hoping to use the photographs and data to set up catfishing accounts to scam male users. Another possibility is that the pictures could be used to train a facial recognition product.
Aaron DeVera a member of New York City’s task force on cyber sexual assault said that the images were published on a website known for trading in malicious software.
DeVera added that he is particularly disturbed by the fact that whoever gathered the data “very openly targeting female-presenting users.”
In addition to the pictures, the perpetrators obtained 16,000 unique Tinder user IDs. Experts believe that it is possible the number signifies the number of users affected.
“Dumps of data such as this typically attract fraudsters, who use it for making large collections of convincing fake accounts on other platforms. Stalkers might use this in a more targeted manner, in an effort to add to a collection of data to use against an individual. Long-term concerns is that these pictures could be used for fraud and privacy violations,” DeVera said as reported by Gizmodo.
Analysts said that many of the pictures were oftentimes selfies and that a number of the pictures had contextual clues that showed they had been recently taken — and thus recently hacked. Hints included the iPhone X model, and there were even timestamps that showed the pictures had been taken as recently as October 2019.
A spokesperson from Tinder told The Inquisitr that any use of information or data — including pictures — outside of the app is prohibited and added that the company would be working to fix the hack.
“It is a violation of our terms to copy or use any members’ images or profile data outside of Tinder. We work hard to keep our members and their information safe. We know that this work is ever evolving for the industry as a whole and we are constantly identifying and implementing new best practices and measures to make it more difficult for anyone to commit a violation like this.”
However, DeVera claimed that it would be difficult for Tinder to scrub the material offline.
Tinder is not only the most popular dating app in the United States but also one of the most popular apps in general. As of September 2019, the platform reported that it had a reach of 7.86 million users total.
The news comes at a bad time, as the use of Tinder will traditionally increase in the next few weeks. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, the first Sunday of January is known as “Singles Sunday.” Apps report the most traffic as users are motivated to find a relationship in the New Year. The trend of increased activity continues throughout January until around Valentine’s Day.