Grindr fixes vulnerability that allow hackers simply hijack accounts

Illustration for article titled Serious Grindr Vulnerability Let Hackers Hijack User Accounts With Just an Email Address

Picture: Leon Neal (Getty Photos)

The in style LGBT+ hook-up app Grindr has mounted a evident safety flaw that allowed hackers to take over any account if they knew the person’s registered e mail handle, TechCrunch reports.

Wassime Bouimadaghene, a French safety researcher, initially uncovered the vulnerability in September. However after he shared his discovery with Grindr and was met with radio silence, he determined to group up with Australian safety expert Troy Hunt, a regional director at Microsoft and the creator of the world’s largest database of stolen usernames and passwords, Have I Been Pwned?, to attract consideration to a difficulty that put Grindr’s greater than 3 million each day lively customers in danger.

Hunt shared these findings with the outlet and on his website Friday, explaining that the issue stemmed from Grindr’s course of for letting customers reset their passwords. Like many social media websites, Grindr makes use of account password reset tokens, a single-use, machine-generated code to confirm that the individual requesting a brand new password is the proprietor of the account. When a person asks to alter their password, Grindr sends them an e mail with a hyperlink containing the token that, as soon as clicked, lets them reset their password and regain entry to their account.

Nonetheless, Bouimadaghene found a critical subject with Grindr’s password reset web page: As a substitute of solely sending the password reset token to a person’s e mail, Grindr additionally leaked it to the browser. “That meant anybody may set off the password reset who had data of a person’s registered e mail handle, and gather the password reset token from the browser in the event that they knew the place to look,” TechCrunch studies.

In brief, simply by realizing the e mail handle a person had related to their Grindr account, a hacker may simply create their very own clickable password reset hyperlink utilizing the leaked token and hijack the account, gaining prompt entry to a person’s photos, messages, HIV standing, and extra.

Hunt confirmed the vulnerability after establishing a take a look at account with fellow safety researcher Scott Helme. In his put up Friday, Hunt referred to as it “one of the crucial fundamental account takeover strategies I’ve seen.”

“I can’t fathom why the reset token—which ought to be a secret key—is returned within the response physique of an anonymously issued request,” he continued. “The convenience of exploit is unbelievably low and the affect is clearly important, so clearly that is one thing to be taken severely.”

And but, it wasn’t. Based on his put up, Bouimadaghene reached out to Grindr’s help group on Sep. 24 and walked them via the potential account takeover course of. An organization consultant instructed him that Grindr’s builders had been notified of the problem and flagged his ticket as “resolved.” When Bouimadaghene adopted up over the course of the subsequent few days, he was met with silence.

After testing and confirming the vulnerability, Hunt tagged Grindr in a tweet on Thursday asking for contact info for the corporate’s safety group. The vulnerability was shortly resolved after he obtained in contact.

Grindr didn’t instantly reply to Gizmodo’s request for remark, however the firm’s chief working officer Rick Marini offering the next assertion to TechCrunch:

“We’re grateful for the researcher who recognized a vulnerability. The reported subject has been mounted. Fortunately, we consider we addressed the problem earlier than it was exploited by any malicious events. As a part of our dedication to bettering the protection and safety of our service, we’re partnering with a number one safety agency to simplify and enhance the flexibility for safety researchers to report points akin to these. As well as, we are going to quickly announce a brand new bug bounty program to supply extra incentives for researchers to help us in protecting our service safe going ahead.”

You’d suppose that, given Grindr’s historical past of safety complications, the corporate would have discovered by now to be extra attentive to reported vulnerabilities. In 2018, Grindr was compelled to acknowledge that it shared info on customers’ HIV standing with third-party corporations for optimization functions following a damning Buzzfeed investigation. Grindr later mentioned it had stopped the practice. Earlier this yr, the app’s former proprietor, Beijing Kunlun Tech, bought Grindr to a Los Angeles-based company after a U.S. nationwide safety panel raised considerations concerning the China-based firm.


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