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Synack Safeguards Data Advisory: Grindr Cellphone Application Geolocation Data Disclosure

Joe Crowley Aug 19. 2021
Synack Safeguards Data Advisory: Grindr Cellphone Application Geolocation Data Disclosure

Synack at first stated two critical information disclosure vulnerabilities to Grindr in March 2014. On May 16, 2014 take advantage of specifics of one of the two said vulnerabilities had been released on Pastebin by an anonymous person who on our own identified the weakness from inside the Grindr app. The second vulnerability happens to be noiselessly patched by Grindr. During Synack’s study, many issues comprise exposed that are not vulnerabilities but I have protection ramifications.

Because unpatched susceptability is now public and there tends to be unconfirmed records of homosexual persons getting discovered by Egyptian authorities by using this weakness, Synack are posting the following Safeguards Advisory to make sure Grindr customers tends to be completely updated of the danger together with the effects associated with the matter on their comfort and physical security.


Synack scientists discovered two weaknesses creating an attacker observe in essence all Grindr user’s locations in real time. The initial vulnerability makes it possible for an opponent to locate a user’s general locality on to the toward the foot, not to mention monitor her activity over time. It is tough, as a result a high amount of detail should not be allowed to an anonymous assailant. Next weakness identified through the Grindr software would carry on and broadcast a user’s venue regardless if anyone decided past location-sharing for the application’s environment.

a proof principle originated to show the option at a city-scale degree; through reports investigation had been feasible to figure out users’ identifications including take a look at pattern of daily life (property and efforts sites). It must be mentioned the opponent can interact anonymously utilizing the server-side API; accessing the app or promoting a user profile is not required for a number of if not completely with the APIs.

Once in addition to some other visibility info such a person page photograph, social websites connected to a Grindr account along with other cellphone owner provided know-how, a user’s (possibly obscured) personality can be expose. This really very burdensome for Grindr people that prefer to hold their residence or process locality or personal personality personal, simply choosing to utilize the Grindr application at specific times.

During weakness exploration and disclosure no personal Grindr customers are on purpose or unintentionally identified. All information signed continues irrecoverably destroyed. The goal of these studies was not to distinguish Grindr consumers but to help secure those who desire to continue to be individual.

Grindr try well-liked online community tool for gay and bisexual boys, with a self-reported four million accounts in 192 nations.

CVE identification: None given.

The scale of CVE is limited to system things that is generally fixed on the devices or products subject to associates. However the vulnerability is present because main Grindr computers are providing information you can use in trilateration assaults. Approaching this vulnerability calls for altering Grindr computers and/or method architecture.

Susceptability 1: Grindr let customers to enjoy how long out they are off their owners. Sadly, this general place data is always said to the highest possible detail, (typically as a result of the sub-foot level of accuracy). An assailant can manipulate the Grindr individual API to reveal a user’s distance in relation to haphazard coordinates supplied by the attacker. Thanks to not enough API rate restricting, the opponent can make use of an iterative method and power expectations trilateration algorithms to compute a user’s accurate venue coordinates in realtime.

Grindr have introduced an announcement indicating this is simply not a susceptability but an element regarding software.

Weakness 2: The Grindr software broadcast owner place data even when a person decided out of sharing through the tool background. This place facts was not open creatively with other Grindr customers but was still carried, permitting an opponent to track (via vulnerability #1) any owner. Simply because this susceptability was actually noiselessly repaired by Grindr in May 2014, consumers’ that select of discussing their unique venue is unable to become followed.

Synack specialists likewise discovered additional problems that might have security implications. While these aren't vulnerabilities, along with the initial weakness above they can additionally undermine the secrecy belonging to the Grindr owners.

1. The user’s direct location try claimed to Grindr’s servers, no matter if “show mileage” are disabled because cellphone owner. While posting one’s location is vital towards efficiency regarding the app (that is performed over SSL), stating this info to this type of a top standard of consistency to an authorized (for example. Grindr) can be a privacy worries for people.

2. The apple's ios Grindr software don't pin SSL certificates. SSL pinning try another coating of safeguards that secure litigant are only going to talk to a well-defined number machines. Because Grindr iOS application does not use SSL pinning, a man-in-the-middle hit might happen. If an opponent offers a compromised main certificate, or can force a user to set up a certificate (eg by emailing anyone with an attached certificates) the link is often hijacked as well user’s right place is often expose.


Synack advocate that Grindr associates remove and stop utilisation of the Grindr application before the seller has tackled the 1st weakness comprehensive within advisory.

Mitigations: nothing

Workarounds: turn fully off location solutions “show travel time” for all the Grindr app. Be aware that this should influence application functionality due to the aim of the application form and will not entirely get rid of the likelihood of facts disclosure like the user’s appropriate locality still is getting transferred to Grindr while the customer will reveal as a ‘nearby’ owner to others.


Financing: The initial vulnerabilities happened to be discovered by Colby Moore. Sustained study and so the revelation of ensuing dilemmas ended up being sang together with Patrick Wardle. Both Colby and Patrick are generally Synack staff members.

Synack permits corporations to generate top dogs scientists employing one present techniques in a trusted, validated model in order to avoid safeguards vulnerabilities from growing to be organization dangers. Synack’s solution is the active, on-demand portion of your own protection structure.