It's bad enough young supporters of President Donald Trump say their political views make dating a challenge. Now, a new app designed just for them was hacked the day it launched, exposing the personal data of more than 1,600 users.
"Trump supporters face extreme hostility wherever they go, whether they're at a restaurant or on an online dating app," said Emily Moreno, CEO of Donald Daters and a former aide to Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
Donald Daters is one of many new apps tailored to people who seek others with similar political views, specifically, those who support Trump. Monthly packages at Donald Daters start at $29.99. An annual subscription is $119.88. App functions are limited without a subscription.
Moreno started the app "to provide a solution to so many young Trump supporters who have told me their dating horror stories. For many of them, liberal intolerance has made meeting and dating nearly impossible," according to the app's website.
"Support for the president has become a deal breaker instead of an icebreaker," she wrote.
A Tinder survey released in 2017 reinforces that sentiment: 71 percent of online daters consider differing politics to be a deal breaker, with 23 percent of users citing it as their No. 1 turnoff.
Trump supporters have found an icy reception on other dating apps such as Tinder and OKCupid.
Last February, OKCupid tested this idea by adding a Trump question to one of their compatibility surveys. It found 74 percent of respondents answered "Hell no" to the question "Trump?"
Comments on social media offer more support. Most users who write about "Make America Date Again," as the app's slogan says, are sardonic.
"#IdRatherWalkBarefootOverLegos than go on a date with a trump supporter," tweeted bluerobin35.
#IdRatherWalkBarefootOverLegos than go on a date with a trump supporter.— bluerobin (@bluerobin35) February 28, 2018
While the company ensures that users' "personal information is kept private," according to its website, Donald Daters shut down just hours after launch when Moreno discovered that the app's chat feature "did not have proper security configuration, potentially allowing malicious actors to pose as users and engage other users."
That security weakness was exposed by Robert Baptiste, a French security researcher who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter, and who routinely reveals online security weaknesses.
I made a small proof of concept to show how the database of the Donald Daters app is vulnerable. With this POC I can:- see all private messages- see all user info- delete what I want: a message, an user, the all database, ... pic.twitter.com/7doErhzYdY— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) October 15, 2018
The leak of user information included "users' names, profile pictures, device type, their private messages," according to TechCrunch, a technology website.
As developers seek new security protocols, the chat function of the app has been temporarily suspended.
"We encourage safe online dating, so please be sure not to share any private information on your profile before vetting anyone you may be interested in meeting in our community," the website advised.