November 19, 2022

Hacking Will Happn – Sourcing Online Proximity Dating Apps by

Hacking Will Happn – Sourcing Online Proximity Dating Apps by

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Life is surprising. One minute, I was a jet setting legal consultant with a vast network of friends all over the world and zero concerns about meeting new people; eighteen months later, I’m a full-time single mom – and just a couple weeks ago, I surprised myself again when I took the plunge and downloaded my first online dating app. It wasn’t Tinder, so I resolved to at least take a look.

This won’t be my typical legal post. If you know me at all, you know sourcing – especially all the tricks “hacks” and tools that go along with it – is my passion. So when I started playing on a new virtual platform that left me curious about information than I could find on the app (for more personal and obvious reasons than ever before), I started applying the skills I learned while training to be a ninja recruiter. I know it makes me a little creepy. Sharing the discovery is worth it!

Happn is a proximity based dating app that streams the people you “cross paths” with in real life. It requires a Facebook connection. When you are within a close distance of another user that fits your predefined parameters, they show up in your stream, and in the “Tinder” fashion, you either pass or like the person. Profiles show a first name, age, and employment or school information, as well as your common Facebook interests.

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I realized two things very quickly. First, real time common interests requires an API call to Facebook. And second, capturing the API calls with a Packet Sniffer will yield Facebook profile ID’s. It honestly started with a match to someone that had a job listed that just didn’t seem right. I couldn’t resist peeking behind the scenes. As every sourcer out there knows, if you have a Facebook profile, about 90% of the time, you have EVERYTHING. Surprise! Mr. Hotshot was NOT actually a Managing Director at Google!

I’m not really even interested in dating right now, but was kind enough to notice I’ve been single for over a year and suggested I might like to try it

Exploit number two is the real goldmine for taking advantage of any proximity based application: using Mock Locations. As it applies to Happn, because you collect profiles based on people you “cross paths” with, changing your location, especially using an application that allows you to “jump around” in a predefined radius, drastically changes who you will see in your steam at any given time, as well as the number of people you have access to. For example, I work from home every day, next to Wrigley Field and all the bars that go along with it. My neighborhood has a “type,” but a simple spoof using another free application and amazingly, the entire demographic on my stream changed.

What if you could turn invisible, stand in the middle of the Microsoft campus and collect Facebook profiles of people walking by or sitting at their desks in the buildings? By downloading two additional Apps and running them in tandem with Happn, you can do exactly that – at least for people using the application. Looking for lawyers? Position yourself in the courthouse or a building that houses a number of large law firms. This will also work to take advantage of any proximity based application and there may be a wealth of information to be obtained. It’s an interesting concept for other potential sourcing tricks. One only has to figure out how to use it to their advantage.

Anita Quinn
About Anita Quinn