Japanese Dating App ‘Omiai’ Hacked and User Data Stolen

By Bill Toulas / May 25, 2021

The owner and operator of the Japanese dating app ‘Omiai,’ Net Marketing, has announced that someone managed to gain access to its servers back in April, accessing the personal information of over 1.7 million users. The data that was potentially exposed to the infiltrators include documents used for age verification on the platform like photos of national IDs, scans of drivers’ licenses, insurance cards, and even passports. Although men using the platform have to pay a subscription of $37 per month to join, Omiai says no credit card details were compromised by the incident.

Due to the nature of the platform, Omiai app users are now running the risk of blackmail, above all else, as many of them may have preferred to keep the membership fact a secret. Simply put, several extramarital relationships are going on in these platforms, so crooks would pay a lot to exploit this set to its maximum potential.

Besides that, the “usual” scamming, phishing, and spanning come into play. The Omiai app reports having a total of 6.8 million accounts, so it is possible that the attack was either contained somehow or that the actors accessed a single backup server.

The shares of Net Marketing have fallen sharply (down by 19%) today following the relevant announcement, as people's trust in the platform has been shaken. Whether or not this concussion will be reversible remains to be seen, but people flock to an alternative that is allegedly more secure whenever something like that happens.

If there’s a lesson to be learned here is not to trust dating apps with your sensitive document scans. That is especially the case if a potential data breach would have the power to bring catastrophe to your life. If you are approached by an extortionist who threatens you with exposure, do not give in, as that would just give the signal to repeat the same vicious circle - report any messages of this kind to the police instead.

The dating app space is one that is steadily growing, and in Japan, it has doubled in the past four years while it’s expected to grow by another 70% by 2025. Unfortunately, it is not free of severe security incidents. We report incidents of this kind regularly, with some examples involving “JCrush,” “Heyyo,” “OkCupid,” and “Rela.”

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