Flirting robots: sounds funny, but – is it?

If you speak Russian and think of searching for a wife in a Russian chat-room – think twice. Or at least, having gone into raptures at the fact that some maid from Siberia wants to elope with you, be sure not to give your interlocutor any personal details, like your full name, date of birth or address. Because your dream girl from Russia might turn out to be a chat bot, designed to steal your identity!

“CyberLover”, the software program developed in Russia, can mimic flirtation in chat forums and online dating sites, and then extract personal information from its victims. According to its creators, it can establish a new relationship online with up to 10 people in just 30 minutes. The program can also compile a detailed report - containing the victim's name, contact details and personal photos - on every person it meets which is then sent to hackers across the world.. This could be dangerous because personal information such as somebody’s address and date of birth can be used for example to access bank accounts. Security experts said that the answers to simple questions, such as "Where can I send you a Valentine's Day card?" or "What's your date of birth? I'm planning a surprise for your birthday", could leave people exposed to identity fraud. CyberLover will also often invite its unsuspecting victims to visit a personal website or blog, which is usually a fake page that hackers use to automatically infect visitors with malware.

Although the software is currently targeting Russian websites, all social networkers and online daters should avoid giving away crucial personal information to strangers. PC Tools, the online security company, believes that CyberLover's inventors plan to make it available worldwide in February.

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