Researcher Jeremiah Fowler has discovered an unprotected database of 42.5 million dating profiles, over 38 million of which belong to users in English-speaking markets.
The information reportedly comes from a range of sites, including Cougardating, Christiansfinder, Mingler and Fwbs (friends with benefits).
The person responsible for the leaked data is anonymous, but the site’s Whois domain registration can be traced back to Lanzhou, China.
Fowler said in a blog post: “Finding several of the users’ real identity was easy and only took a few seconds to validate them.
“The dating applications logged and stored the user’s IP address, age, location, and usernames.
“(…) I am not saying or implying that these applications or the developers behind them have any nefarious intent or functions, but any developer that goes to such great lengths to hide their identity or contact details raises my suspicions.”
This is the latest of many data leaks to come out of China in recent months. Dutch cybersecurity researcher Victor Gevers uncovered 364 million social media profiles in March, and 5 million train passengers saw their information leaked in January.
Another 2019 leak saw 1.8 million single women listed by their “BreedReady” status. Some commentators suggested that the women might belong to a dating site, and that the binary measure was likely a poor translation of each woman’s attitude towards having children.
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