Briefing: Chinese database exposed 48.5 million dating app user records

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Chinese database exposes 42.5 million records compiled from multiple dating apps – Cyberscoop

What happened: Researcher Jeremiah Fowler said that he’s discovered a non-password protected database with tens of millions of user data records mined from a broad range of dating platforms. Around 38.3 million data points include the ages, user names, and locations of users from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and other English-speaking countries, while another 3.87 million records are “geonames.” According to Fowler, the registered address for the database’s domain owner is a subway station in Lanzhou, China. The trove of user data also includes some Chinese-language commands.

Why it’s important: While the purpose of the database is unclear, as Fowler pointed out, the lack of details surrounding its creators—and its lack of security—are worrying. The incident is far from the first to crop up in China in recent months, however. In January, 5 million domestic train passengers had their data stolen from various ticketing platforms, while in March, Dutch cybersecurity researcher Victor Gevers uncovered a trove of 364 million records collected from Chinese social media users. The recurrent issue highlights widespread security flaws that exist even among established Chinese tech companies, which could affect international perception and acceptance of homegrown firms.