Dating can be stressful enough, and now 2020 adds not only a pandemic to worry about, but fears of political sabotage for the many campaign staffers across the country who have profiles on various dating apps.
The possibility that information exchanged on a dating app could be used for nefarious purposes is viewed as such a serious risk that security advisers for the Democratic National Committee saw fit to send an email to campaign staffers warning them about it.
“We’re received reports that opposition groups may be trying to ‘sting’ or infiltrate Democratic campaigns or organizations through dating sites,” said the email, according to a report by CNN.
The email encouraged staffers to remain skeptical and to use Google searches and other methods to verify any information someone on a dating app might claim, and to assume that anything they shared might not stay private.
“Don’t put anything out there that you wouldn’t mind the opposition seeing,” the email warned. “This includes video calls, text messages, emails, photos, or DMs — imagine that it was on the front page of the NYTimes.”
Another possible tricky game the DNC warned about: was that cute Tinder match just trying to get to know you better, or were they trying to trick you into releasing campaign strategy?
“Notice when people are asking you more than a few questions about the election, the campaign, the candidate, and the opposition. Are they actually curious, or might they be pumping you for information? Think twice about saying things that could be taken out of context to the detriment of our collective efforts.”
Reached for comment, a DNC spokesperson told CNN that they were not aware of any specific instances of their staffers being targeted on dating apps (successful or not), but said that the email was part of an “ongoing effort to educate campaign staffers about where bad actors may exist online, how they may use social engineering tactics to gain access to information, and remind our campaign staffers to stay vigilant.”
ummm the dnc chief security officer just blasted an email about using caution on dating sites and signed off with:
DNC Security Team”
welcome to 2020
— Justine Turner (@_justine_turner) August 26, 2020
“Swipe carefully,” the DNC’s email concluded.
The warning likely struck some as a little overkill, but the DNC’s concern isn’t entirely unwarranted. A number of high profile security breaches have been committed by hackers successfully deploying social engineering techniques, including the bitcoin scam that was posted on dozens of verified Twitter accounts in July, and even the 2016 hack of the DNC itself, resulting in a slow stream of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta. That leak proved to be not just embarrassing, but perhaps among the deciding factors in weakening Clinton enough for Trump to win.
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