Now That China Owns 'Grindr', Is Your Security At Risk?

In January 2016, Grindr sold 60% of its company for $93 million to Chinese gaming company Kunlun Group. Now, the company has acquired the remaining 40% of the successful gay dating app for $152 million--bringing the total buyout for the app to a whopping $254 million.

Grindr CEO and founder, Joel Simkhai, will step away from the company and Grindr’s current vice-chairman Wei Zhou will be executive vice-chairman and CFO, and former Facebook and Instagram veteran Scott Chen will become an integral part of Grindr as CTO.

Does this new shift in the Grindr brand mean changes for the apps 3.3 million daily users? Will this come with new taps or customized emojis? Potential to upload video?

Something that users should be more concerned about is their privacy. U.S. Intelligence Officials are worried that the Chinese government may be accessing personal information and tracking Grindr users. China currently collects personal information to build databases that are used for either influence or intelligence. Still sure you want to host?

According to the Washington Post, Grindr assures that app user security is their priority, and since the company will remain US based, it will abide by U.S. laws. However, Chinese companies are subject to turn over data for the sake of 'public security', a term that all companies must comply with based on Chinese government standards.

Shanthi Kalathil, director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy, has stated:

The problem is that the exact role Chinese firms have in supplying data to the Chinese government is unclear. What is assured is that – unlike in a democracy — if the Chinese government demands this kind of data from Chinese companies, the companies have little recourse but to comply. What we need is more clarity on the implications of these sorts of purchases and what it means for non-Chinese citizens. At the very least, if you are thinking about blackmailing individuals or compelling people to act in a certain way, that information is incredibly valuable.

Just another thing to worry about aside from getting messages from faceless profiles. Grind with caution, boys! It may not matter if you're on the DL anymore.

Researchers Claim That Watching Porn on Your Phone Is Riskier Than On Your Computer

Image via Pixels

Freshman year of college was an interesting time for me, there were a lot of new and exciting things around me and very little privacy when it came to those experiences. That is especially true when it came to my college roommates.

Through circumstances that I no longer remember, one of my roommates once told me that he only watched porn on his phone because it was easier and kept his phone safe from any viruses meant for desktop/laptop computers.

But a recent study tries to claim that my roommate was wrong.

Mobile tech and security firm Wandera did a little investigation into the security of risky sites (porn sites, gambling sites, and pirating sites) as well as mobile phones and states that there is barely any security at all.

Their results found that malware can be found on any kind of site, but at least a quarter of malware targeted towards phones are found on porn sites.

Turns out that watching porn on smartphone systems, and Wandera specifically pointed out Android systems, is much more dangerous than watching on desktop computers.

Top 50 Porn Sites / via Wandera

In addition, it seems that most porn sites are susceptible to data leaks. During their research, Wandera found that 40 out of the 50 biggest porn sites, like Pornhub, XVideos, and Xhamster, are all showing signs of data leaks and potentially leaking out your personal information.

Keep in mind however that you should have some suspicion about this research. After all, it was conducted by a mobile security firm that seeks to benefit from scaring consumers into buying their services. (In fact, the end of the article about their research was a plug for their services).

And folks, I was just going to end this article after stating that, but my own suspicisons keep bothering me. 

You see, Wandera's claims that only a quarter of malware makes "watching mobile porn on your smartphone a much higher risk than watching it on your PC" just seemed off to me. So, I did a little more digging. And it seems, my suspicions were right.

Earlier research, like the one conducted by Security expert Conrad Longmore, has stated that there is about a 50% chance of getting in contact with malware while surfing porn sites on PC.

He found that PC visitors to Pornhub and Xhamster have a 53 and 42 percent chance respectively of contacting malware.

In addition, a 2010 study done by a research team bought 47,000 clicks to a test porn site. By the end of the study, they estimated that around 20,000 clicks might have created contact with malware. That's about 43%.

So, it seems that my college roommate was right when he said that watching porn on cell phones is safer than watching on a computer.

If Wandera's research is right that there's a 25% chance of contracting some sort of malware, that is still lower than the 40-50% chance other researchers have found.

It also seems that Wandera needs to be more honest and just say they conducted research to get attention for their services, and did a very bad job of doing it.

Update (9/12/2017): An earlier version of this post agreed with the research done by Wandera saying that phone use was risker. But, after further thought and research, the article has been updated to refute that claim.