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TikTok concerns


Beware If You Use TikTok On Your iPhone: Here’s Why You Should Now Worry—New Security Report
Zak Doffman
Zak DoffmanContributor

TikTok is no stranger to security concerns. back in January, I reported on a confirmed vulnerability in its communications. This followed multiple complaints over child safety and national security concerns. And now, today, we have a move by U.S. senators to ban the app from all U.S. government devices over espionage fears.

Coincidentally, just as that U.S. move takes place, an unconnected security report has raised yet another concern about the viral video-sharing app. TikTok was not the focus of the report—it is actually into a loophole in Apple’s copy and paste. But it’s a security loophole TikTok is using, albeit the researchers have no idea why.

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And the chance of that update may now have increased, because those researchers are back. “We explored popular iOS and iPadOS apps,” they told me, “investigating whether they access the clipboard and get information from it. Our findings were astonishing. Many popular apps do this very frequently.”

And one of those apps is TikTok. “The logs clearly indicate that TikTok is reading the content of the clipboard whenever it is opened,” the researchers told me, adding “we can’t say for sure what TikTok is doing with the data it has read.” There is no claim that TikTok is doing anything with that user data, but it is being read and it’s not obvious why. It’s a clear illustration as to why this security issue is a real one.

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Trump eyes a TikTok ban: Everything you need to know
Queenie Wong 4 days ago

TikTok, an app known for quirky short videos, is facing political heat because of its ties to China.

Owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based tech company, TikTok's popularity has exploded over the past year. It's gotten a new boost from the coronavirus pandemic, drawing in users looking to escape the boredom of quarantine. The app has been downloaded more than 2 billion times, according to research firm Sensor Tower, with 623 million coming during the first half of this year. India is its largest market, followed by Brazil and the US. (TikTok isn't available in China, where ByteDance distributes a domestic version called Douyin.)

Now TikTok's growth is under fire because governments are concerned the Chinese government might have sway over the app. Citing national security concerns, India banned TikTok last week. The US and Australia are also considering blocking the app. The US Army and Navy have banned service members from downloading the app to government-issued phones.

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