ASIO warning dating apps could be used to access sensitive information

Australians looking for love online have been warned to be wary of ‘too good to be true’ matches as concerns grow over how foreign spies use the internet to obtain information.

Liberal Senator James Paterson expressed concern today after it was revealed that foreign intelligence agencies were using dating apps to access sensitive information.

“We have to remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” the Victorian senator told ABC News, echoing a warning from Australia’s top spy agency.

Australians looking for love online have been warned of being scammed for their information. (Splash)

“If you’re a six and they’re a 10, maybe it wasn’t your appearance that charmed them, maybe it was your access to classified information,” Mr Paterson said.

The head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), Mike Burgess, revealed in his annual threat assessment speech spies were using the internet to target information, with COVID-19 sending online radicalization into overdrive.

“Isolated individuals spent more time online, exposed to extremist messaging, misinformation and conspiracy theories,” Burgess said.

“It’s like being in an echo chamber where the echo gets louder and louder, generating cycles of exposure and reinforcement.

ASIO chief security officer Mike Burgess said Australia faces internal and external threats. (PAA)

“ASIO also tracks suspicious approaches on dating platforms such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge.

“My message to all potential victims on these sites is familiar – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“While spying is one of the most insidious security threats we face online, it’s not the most concerning trend.”

Home Secretary Karen Andrews also spoke on the Director-General’s annual update during Thursday’s Question Time, saying the pandemic has created “a number of security concerns”.

“There is credible intelligence that there are people out there who have the intent and the ability to harm us,” she said.

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