The location-based app shows users only the hundred or so other users closest to them, theoretically making it difficult for spammers to target users outside their immediate vicinity.But the Grindr spambots manage to contact users from 6,000 to 7,000 miles away from the United States.On Grindr, the app’s 6 million users are getting fed up with all the bots.
They also figured out a way to circumvent Grindr’s blocking technology, hounding users with an additional invitation to join the webcam chat even after the user blocked the bot.
(A bug fix in April appears to have ended that particular problem, at least for now.) Tim Strazzere, lead research and response engineer at Lookout Mobile Security, speculates that spammers are able to spoof their location by opening Grindr in an Android emulator and searching for users in target-rich environments like New York and San Francisco.
After dropping a link to those sites in a Grindr chat, the spambot ceases responding, except to ask why you haven’t joined him yet.
Users could be forgiven for assuming spambots wouldn’t be an issue in Grindr.
You can ask Poncho questions like whether you should wear sunglasses today, or what the weather’s going to be like this weekend, and it will send you alerts up to twice a day, if you want.
The ambition is for Poncho to be able to talk to you about anything light-hearted, like you would with a mate, but it has to be taught what to say first.
But even as they have fueled its rise, the disposable profiles have also made Grindr easier to spam.
Competitors like Scruff and Jackd have long required users to create an account, and seem to be less prone to spam. Verified accounts may help Grindr with its spam problem — but they’ll also make it feel more like the competition.
Some of the most provocative profiles on Grindr aren’t men at all, but spambots designed to lure credulous users into turning over their credit-card information.
The links all point to questionable webcam sites with names like My Passion Pit, My Gay Cam Crush and Gay Slice Crush.
Earlier this year, users of the popular gay hookup and dating app Grindr started seeing a sharp increase in the number of attractive men saying hello to them.