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WARNING: Apple Catches Chinese-Owned TikTok Spying on Users

U.S. Banning TikTok?

WARNING: Apple Catches Chinese-Owned TikTok Spying on Users

In April 2020, Apple discovered that Chinese-owned TikTok was secretly accessing the last universal clipboard save on users’ devices. Apple’s response was to release an update that will notify users with a warning when an app has read your last clipboard save, but they will not prevent the app from being able to do this. 

In December 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense employees were encouraged to avoid adding TikTok to their smartphones due to its ability to identify location data from uploads to the platform.  It also disclosed several vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to access personal information in TikTok accounts, including deleted information. Security researchers uncovered that Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers are open to exploitation by this “malicious” app on Apple devices to “steal” data copied to the Universal clipboard.

So why is this important? 

Anytime you copy a password or a username on Apple devices, the most recent copy is saved to your Universal clipboard. If an app is continuously monitoring and recording user’s clipboards, your account logins and passwords can be compromised – this includes your email, your banking accounts, credit card accounts, or any other account that has access to your personal information. If you have an active TikTok app account on your Apple device, you are at risk.

For this reason, I do not recommend any business to use this platform for advertising. Information about your customers or followers can be compromised. 

What happens now?

The Indian government has already announced plans for a ban on using TikTok on federal grounds, and there is speculation that the United States will follow suit. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the office’s intentions of looking into a possible restriction on the app during an interview on July 7.

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