The Democratic National Committee (DNC) sent an alert to campaign staffers warning them to be vigilant against attempts by opposition groups to gain information on campaigns through dating apps.
According to The Hill, the alert, first reported by CNN, was sent by the DNC to staffers nationwide, and warned them to “trust but verify” facts around who they were matching with on dating apps, including through Googling individuals.
"We're received reports that opposition groups may be trying to 'sting' or infiltrate Democratic campaigns or organizations through dating sites," the email from the DNC, obtained by CNN, warned. In addition, the DNC cautioned staffers to be careful with what they posted online, warning them to not “put anything out there that you wouldn’t mind the opposition seeing” and to imagine content from video calls, text messages, emails and photos was “on the front page of the NYTimes,” reports The Hill.
“As staffers are ramping up campaigns for the upcoming election, they are using personal phones to be productive all hours of the day. Phones used for campaign work are also used by staffers in their personal lives, including dating apps and social media platforms," says Tim LeMaster, Director, Systems Engineering at Lookout, a San Francisco, Calif.-based provider of mobile phishing solutions.
LeMaster points to recent Lookout research that found 25.5 percent of staffers encountered a phone phishing attack in the second quarter of 2020. "A dating app is an excellent tool for a cybercriminal to socially engineer someone to click on a phishing link. This is an excellent way to target a campaign staffer in order to gain username and passwords in order to infiltrate the campaign. This should be a wakeup call for all campaign staffers to use an anti-phishing app on their smartphones. Any app including messaging, social media and email create opportunities for campaign staff to be targeted by phone spear phishing attacks,” adds LeMaster.