Don't fall for hot bots as Tinder invaded by malware

You may have the hots for a bot if you've swiped right on a malware-peddling profile in dating app Tinder.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Dating app Tinder has singles making eyes at malware. Tinder
Heartbreak isn't the only thing to worry about in the dating game. If you use Tinder, you could also find yourself chatting up a potential mate with just one thing on its mind: malware.

Antivirus company Bitdefender warns that a series of bots have invaded the popular dating app, using alluring profiles to seduce those looking for love before stinging their hapless suitors with dodgy downloads.

Tinder works by showing you photos selected from Facebook of singles near you, along with a brief intro, comparison of your Facebook likes, and any friends you have in common. Profiles appear in a stack, like a deck of cards; swipe left to cruelly reject a profile and move onto the next one, or swipe right to register interest. If your prospective mate also swipes right on your profile, you can then chat via instant message.

A friend of mine calls it "Man-snap".

On Tinder, as in life, not every pouting princess or shirtless suitor is what they appear to be. Scam profiles are filled with enticing pictures, and once you've swiped right they initiate automated IM conversations that eventually lead to those three little words: click this link.

Dating dodgy downloads

"Hey, how are you doing?" a typical message might read. "I'm still recovering from last night :) Relaxing with a game on my phone, Castle Clash. Have you heard about it? (Link) Play with me and you may get my phone number..."

US suitors are directed to a download of mobile game Castle Clash, while Britons playing the field are rather more prosaically tempted by Asda and Tesco supermarket vouchers. Links lead to a site called Tinderverified.com, which is in no way verified by or associated with Tinder. So don't click -- no matter how fit that bot appears to be.

"We are also being victimised in this issue," says IGG, the developer of Castle Clash. "Therefore we are grateful for being informed." BitDefender says it has also contacted the photography studio from which the wrong'uns in question appear to have stolen their enticing pictures.

Hugely popular with singletons the world over, Tinder is open to abuse. As well as fake profiles encouraging you to click on porn sites, problems have included vulnerabilities in the app's geo-location system that could allow you to track the movements of other users.