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Hornet and Jack’d have options to obscure the exact distance between users’ phones, adding noise to obscure that trilateration attack.
The lingering issue, however, remains: All three apps still show photos of nearby users in order of proximity.
Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd, which has owned the California-based dating app since 2016, decided to sever ties at the behest of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which pointed to major concerns over personal data of app users — notably military and intelligence personnel — being made publicly available.
Grindr, which labels itself “the largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people,” came under intense heat last year when it was revealed that the app was releasing the HIV statuses of users without their permission.
If Grindr or a similar app tells you how far away someone is—even if it doesn’t tell you in which direction—you can determine their exact location by combining the distance measurement from three points surrounding them, as shown in the the image at right.
In late 2014, Grindr responded to security researchers who pointed out that risk by offering an option to turn off the app’s distance-measuring feature, and disabling it by default in countries known to have “a history of violence against the gay community,” like Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
When the monthlong marathon of men’s fashion shows kicks off this week, so will the scrimmage to cover it: the race by newspapers, magazines, television networks, social media platforms and blogs to get a piece of the action for themselves and their viewers.
Joining the melee for the first time will be Grindr, the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) social-networking app primarily for gay men.
According to the company, it now has one million active users on the platform worldwide every minute, and is aiming to broaden its offerings and its appeal.He envisions a future for Grindr well beyond the scope of its grabby classifieds, and wants to shed the stigma attached in some corners to using the app.“There’s a generation out there that doesn’t seem to care if people know that Grindr is on their phone, and there’s a generation that does,” Mr.Smithers said.“The app is free to download,” he added.Ten minutes after that, he sent me a screenshot from Google Maps, showing a thin arc shape on top of my building, just a couple of yards wide. Hoang says his Grindr-stalking method is cheap, reliable, and works with other gay dating apps like Hornet and Jack'd, too.(He went on to demonstrate as much with my test accounts on those competing services.) In a paper published last week in the computer science journal Transactions on Advanced Communications Technology, Hoang and two other researchers at Kyoto University describe how they can track the phone of anyone who runs those apps, pinpointing their location down to a few feet.
(That's the simpler but slightly less efficient method Hoang used to pinpoint my location.)To respond to Grindr's obscuring of the exact distance between some users, the Kyoto researchers' used a "colluding" trilateration attack.