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Let us take a step back and understand how digital is impacting our lives. We are becoming increasingly dependent on digital.

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Today, literally every person has a parallel digital avatar or identity. If you recall, in the corporate world 10 years back, digital was only about office automation, installing an ERP software or a tally, or install a printer, so that things could be formatted better, few things became more time and cost efficient but that was the extent.

We could see the impact of this with the rise of TCS or a Wipro. These companies were primarily building enterprise software to automate something what was manual. Automation was the key objective. For the last five years there has seen a ificant change.

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Going digital isn't office automation anymore. It is now actually enhancing customer experience and providing competitive advantage across all sectors and companies. Even for an offline product, for example — retail stores.

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You can now walk in and customise your entire experience. You can take a selfie and try on a dress. This was never thought about before. There is a massive dependence of people on technology and digital. People are now moving from being passively involved with digital to being actively involved.

Since this transition is happening, hacks are getting sophisticated too. Hacks which were ly on the passive side are now being attempted on the active side. Today we do almost everything online — from banking to social media and even online dating," he said. We are dating about the grey side of our internet activities — online stuff we do in our bedrooms and in private. We speak on the likes of AdultFriendFinder, Ashley Madison, and a few too many adult entertainment and dating websites like these.

FriendFinder Networks says it has more than million registered users across some 40, websites in its network," he continued. Due to the site of passive to active in digital, both in commercial as well as personal space, hacks have started to happen on the active space of hacker, both commercially and personally.

Why your dating app might be dangerous

ly hack meant being attacked by viruses or some cartoon figures dancing on your screen, or probably files automatically duplicating itself, and alike. Other form of hacking also meant stealing of debit card or credit card details apart from the data also being leaked on the internet. Identity theft, site invasion and being digitally held captive are some examples.

A large of people use it to send intimate photographs of themselves. The key utility of Snapchat over WhatsApp and why it scores more over the other is that pictures or messages sensitive information disappear within a pre-set time, but what people do not realise is, it stays on the Snapchat servers, probably forever," said Modi. They have started sharing their personal and most intimate experiences, things about their sex lives via both dating and normal apps.

Do you remember the Apple iCloud breach? The hack was not because it was a dating app, but a gold mine of intimate pictures of celebrities, which were found, backed up online by the hackers themselves. Technology has become an dating of your own identity and people trust it without knowing the pros and cons. Coming back to the question, reason why hackers are shifting their attention to dating websites is that the target is most vulnerable in such places. It is on your intelligence what you make out of it. Data by itself is dead but it comes to life if you apply the right kind of science to it.

Essentially the hackers are looking at raw and real data, which they can use to extort money, potentially damage the reputation or the personal life of a person.

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And the funny part is most of these websites take money from you to delete your. But the recent infamous hacks show that the s which were paid to be deleted still exist on the database. This data can be used by hackers to extort not only money, but do multiple other things with it — exactly — like crude oil," explains Modi.

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The hackermight have a completely different intention when scouting for information online. There's a good chance that someone hacked into AdultFriendFinder with a different set of motive, where according to the hacker he might have had the right intention. But what people do not realise is that there is not one copy of the master database.

The moment a hacker dumps it on the internet there are hundreds of copies made within seconds, and are distributed around the world.

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During the interaction with Saket Modi, he went on to give us some more information on our queries. With regards to generic questions that users could have to ensure online privacy and security, here are his expert opinions:. SM: It is important to understand that all web applications are same, there is technically no difference between a dating website compared to any other social media website.

Application layers on any website by itself, has multiple possible vulnerabilities. OWASP is a body which datings the top 10 vulnerabilities every year, showing the top 10 ways to hack into a website. Lucideus as a company works with multiple large companies to assess their web applications and while doing so we refer to the OWASP TOP 10 vulnerabilities along with our own set of vulnerabilities that we test and the list is long.

Similarly, the second stack is the hacker stack and this layer, we go ahead and provide multiple forms of security assessment. For example, if you have to visit Facebook. Once you have that, your IP address will directly try to connect to the IP address which belongs to Facebook. Once you reach a server, with an IP address, you need a port where the data packet needs to go to.

The site why this is explained is — every open port has a service software that is running behind an open port.

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Generally how it happens is — a packet came, entered the IP and went to a certain port, behind which there is a service running. Now services are exploitable. There are multiple zero day exploits released in the past which make these services vulnerable. Then the entire server is running an OS, which will also have multiple vulnerabilities. Similarly there are multiple types of exploits that we try to penetrate and test our customer's web spaces from.

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DC: To what extent can we be assured of about our privacy over the internet? SM: You can be as sure of your privacy over the internet as in the physical world. But does that mean we stop using the Internet, absolutely not!

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It's time to use the Internet more intelligently and with more awareness. It is important to understand how internet works and use it then. DC: From an organisation perspective, how can such security flaws be patched?

How hackers are helping dating site users find true love

SM: From an organisational perspective, there are multiple things that needs to be done. First and foremost being, having the right understanding of why cybersecurity is important at the top management. We are at an era where companies like Sony, Target and Ashley Madison have fired their CEOs because of hacks, even after spending millions of dollars on cybersecurity. Therefore, it has to start from the top. DC: From a user's perspective, what security tips would you suggest? SM: We can give you a list of basic technical tips like: a Use an incognito window while visiting websites like AdultFriendFinder, which is potentially very impactful to your privacy.

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However, even after ensuring all of this, you can still be hacked. It is not a technical solution, but the moment you can do this, you will be more careful and aware of what you are doing. For example you can use PasswordManager, KeyChain for Apple and LastPass, basically it lets you integrate a lot of passwords and you just have to remember just one password. Whom do I approach?

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SM: There is absolutely nothing that you can do. It does not fall in our jurisdiction.

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However, the only way you can go about is to approach the International Court, which by itself is a very lengthy process. They build and deliver information security platforms and services, both generic and customised to pro actively secure, continuously monitor and reactively respond to cyber threats to your company's technology stack. Their objective is quantify digital risk to inculcate a knowledge-based culture of safe and secure use of technology, such that risk becomes an informed business decision leading to minimal disruptions to your business and life.

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