#LifeHacks: how to avoid getting your phone hacked. Or at least feel a little safer! You know there’s a risk when you meet up with that total stranger you met on Tinder, but did you know you could be sharing your info by accident? From phishing (using disguises…like hipster beard guy charm…swipe right, duh…to get your phone number and private info) to amping things up and installing malware, all dating apps have their vulnerabilities. Here are some ways to protect your identity
1. Switch it Up
Change passwords regularly. If you do online banking, change that password frequently (the same goes for any social media accounts linked to your phone. Facebook is often the app linked to Tinder, so that password is really important. The best way to create a strong password is to mix it up — use numbers, letters, and symbols, if you can!)
2. Know the Risks
According to IBM, most dating apps can access parts of your phone you’re not necessarily thinking about when you send a flirty message. Many can access the camera, microphone, GPS location, billing information, and anything else you have stored in your phone (so don’t do what I did in high school — AKA save your passwords in your notepad.)
3. Spy Back
When you make an account, check which parts of your phone the app will be using. If you have an Android, go to the Permissions section of the app and check View Details. If you have an Apple product, go to Settings and flip through your apps until you find the dating app you’re investigating. From there, you can control permissions.
I hate updating my computer, but with dating apps, it’s a good idea. This gives you a chance to read whatever new access guidelines they’ve created, and they’re constantly improving their security, so any updates will include those (now stronger!) countermeasures to keep your data safe.
5. Be Savvy
This one’s obvious, but don’t give out too much identifying information online. It’s weird, but meeting someone in public, and deciding then — whether to give them your phone number, real Facebook name, address — is a better bet than doing it online. At least you’ll know they’re a real human if you meet them first!
And here’s a little feminist hacker Barbie for you all — maybe your data stay safe and your lipstick on point!