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The dating that is popular Coffee Meets Bagel is dripping delicate information regarding its 2 million users

The dating that is popular Coffee Meets Bagel is dripping delicate information regarding its 2 million users

Ever wonder just what information mobile apps are delivering and getting through the cloud? You will find that out by reverse engineering an app’s API to look at the system traffic in the middle of your smart phone and backend servers. Let’s enter the way I reverse engineered the APIs associated with the popular relationship software Coffee Meets Bagel, and exactly how sniffing the community traffic on my smart phone resulted in a find that is surprising.

Online Debugging Proxies

A internet debugging proxy is something employed for viewing community traffic between a credit card applicatoin while the internet. The tool intercepts and decrypts system traffic, which reveals the API calls, the info delivered, plus the information gotten by the application. Online debugging proxies are generally used among designers to debug and test apps. By starting up a mobile device to a web debugging proxy, you can observe most of the information and domains the software is interfacing with.

Illustration of an internet debugging proxy. After setting up my smart phone to your web debugging proxy, you can start to determine what domains the product is interacting with.

Searching into Coffee Meets Bagel’s APIs

While a smart phone is connected to an internet debugging proxy, you could begin to utilize your apps as you ordinarily would. Let’s see what the results are whenever you start up Coffee suits Bagel:

Straight away, we are able to note that among the domains that hosts the app is, therefore we is able to see API that is multiple calls made. One of several telephone calls, /bagels, looks with) like it will fetch your bagels for the day (translation: other profiles the app matches you. Let’s dig into this API call to see the information exchanged by considering the HTTP request and reaction.

Ask for the /bagels API call. I’ve blocked down information that is sensitive you could find your facebook-auth-token along with your authorization Bearer token here. It is information that is just enough spoof your profile on any customer, such as for instance bash scripts, by giving these authorization headers within the API phone calls. A reaction to the /bagels API call. I’ve blocked down information that is sensitive. This response provides the information of each and every user that is shown in the software.

There’s a JSON blob containing a number of profiles that my phone fetched from the servers — in this case, it was 11 in the response to the/bagels API call. For every single profile, you can view the given information that’s typically exhibited from the software — height, town, occupation, manager, together with user’s passions.

Interestingly, you'll be able to see each user’s birthday, latitude/longitude GPS coordinates, and very first title. Each profile from the user’s is showed by the app age, but, it doesn't show the user’s birthday celebration.

After some testing that is further I’ve pointed out that these GPS coordinates will be the user’s location of once the software ended up being final opened. While the software will not show the user’s name that is first their dating profile — the software was created to expose that information for you thoughts is broken matched. These records in regards to the individual is extremely painful and sensitive, and may never be delivered off to every customer with this API call. Perhaps the coordinates are right down to 6 decimal places — that’s accurate as much as 0.1 meters, simply sufficient to look for a home that is user’s Bing Maps.

Let’s have a look at what are the results when you utilize the “discover” feature in the software. You are allowed by this feature to browse pages near where you are by indicating some parameter values — age, height, training, ethnicity, an such like.

Demand regarding the /discoversearch API call. Once more, this call is actually spoofable and scriptable offered the auth headers. This API call uses question parameters, as well as the arguments are gotten through the application each time a discover search is created (age groups, degree, ethnicity, and so on). The reaction to the /discoversearch API call — 19 pages came back, each containing a pages item. The profile item has precisely the exact same information schema both in the /discoversearch reaction therefore the /bagels reaction.

The discover function finds users’ profiles who will be near your local area — nonetheless, your local area is configurable in the application. I could browse users in escort service Palmdale any city around the world if I wanted to. There’s so much information exposed for every profile and literally anybody can get access to it. It’s a privacy issue that is serious.


So we’ve seen tips on how to reverse engineer any mobile app’s API and sniff its network traffic — and also the sort of information surprises you'll find. In this example that is particular I realized a privacy problem with just how Coffee Meets Bagel’s APIs are made.

There’s too much delicate information exposed for each individual from the application. Ebony caps and thieves did plenty of harm using this types of information in past times — the date of delivery, very first title, company, as well as the GPS coordinates are sufficient not just to find somebody but additionally to steal someone’s identification with some bit of social engineering.

Whenever APIs that is designing the details that the customer requirements should always be delivered back. The Coffee Meets Bagel mobile application shouldn’t have to have the user’s date of delivery to calculate age, or even the user’s GPS coordinates to calculate distance — most of these computations can be carried out server-side therefore the API response can merely deliver the outcome associated with the calculation.

We reached away to Coffee Meets Bagel via e-mail and told them there clearly was a major safety and privacy flaw using their application, nevertheless they declined for connecting me along with their engineering team in order that i possibly could explain this matter in more detail. I really hope by posting this, Coffee Meets Bagel will focus on repairing this problem since it’s placing scores of people’s data — including mine — in danger.

The writing above is strictly my individual work and personal ideas. This work is maybe not pertaining to, will not include, and will not express my present and previous employers in any way.

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