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This TikTok Thirst Trap Dupes Users Into Downloading Malware

 

In a new malware attack, digital thieves are exploiting horny TikTok viewers' desire for nude images. The attack, revealed by Checkmarx researchers, entices users by offering to remove a filter used by TikTokers participating in the "Invisible Challenge." 

Users who participate in the challenge upload nude or mostly nude images of themselves to TikTok and then use an invisibility filter to remove their bodies from the video, leaving only a ghostly blurry image in their wake. Preying on viewers' curiosity, the attackers offer "unfilter" software that claims to be able to remove the filter. In reality, that "unfilter" download contains malware skilled of stealing passwords, credit card information, and other private details.

The Checkmarx report cites attackers who posted their own TikTok videos promoting software that they claim can discard the invisible filter. These videos contained links to a Discord server where users could download the files. That server, dubbed "Space Unfilter," contains nude images uploaded by the attackers as proof that the unfilter tools work.

Users who download the software expecting to see boobs inadvertently install "WASP Stealer" malware hidden in a Python package. That malware is said to be capable of stealing a wide range of personal information, from credit card numbers and cryptocurrency wallets to Discord account information. Checkmarx estimates that over 30,000 people joined the Discord server before it was shut down.

“The high number of users tempted to join this Discord server and potentially install this malware is concerning,” Checkmarx Software Engineer Guy Nachshon said in a blog post. “These attacks demonstrate again that cyber attackers have started to focus their attention on the open-source package ecosystem; We believe this trend will only accelerate in 2023.”

The Invisible Challenge, which depends on a filter that acts as a type of green screen by matching a user's skin tone to their background, has been around for a while but has recently gained traction. The #invisiblefilter tag had over 27 million views at the time of writing. With all of the attention, the challenge becomes a breeding ground for attackers looking to catch pervy users with their pants down.

“By offering a potential tool that could ‘unfilter’ the effect, threat actors prey on people’s curiosity, fear, and even their malicious side to download it,” Cybersmart CEO and co-founder Jamie Akhtar​​ said in an interview with Forbes. “Of course, by then, they’ll learn the attackers’ claims are false and malware is installed.”

Google Acquires Alter, an AI Avatar Startup Two Months Ago


Tech giant Google has reportedly acquired Alter for around $100m in an effort to boost the content game. Alter is an artificial intelligence (AI) avatar startup that aids brands and creators in expressing their virtual identities. The acquisition also overlaps with Google’s plan of competing more aggressively with the short video platform, TikTok.  
 
Avatar, formerly known as ‘Facemoji’, essentially works with AI to create avatars for its social media users. The company started by assisting developers to create avatars for games and apps, later it rebranded as ‘Alter’ in 2020 and started helping businesses and creators generate avatars so as to build an online identity. Proficient in 3D avatar system designs, Alter empowers creators and businesses to create and monetize new experiences. 
 
The acquisition which was concluded approximately two months ago was made public only now as neither of the companies made an announcement until now. Notably, one of Google's spokespersons confirmed the accession but refused to provide details pertaining to the financial terms of the agreement.
 
With the acquisition, Google is aiming to integrate Alter’s tools to bolster its own arsenal of content, meanwhile providing Alter with new enhanced capabilities. Headquartered in the US and Czech, Alter is an open-source, cross-platform rendering engine that was jointly founded by Jon Slimak and Robin Raszka in 2017, who did not respond to a request for comment put forth by TechCrunch. 
 
The company’s advent marks a progression for web3 interoperability and the open metaverse as it adeptly works with code to modify and develop face recognition technology. 
 
According to the report, a part of Alter’s workforce has updated their new role, announcing that they have joined Google, however, an official public announcement is still pending. 
 
“Alter is an open source, cross-platform [software development kit (SDK)] consisting of a real-time 3D avatar system and motion capture built from scratch for web3 interoperability and the open metaverse. With Alter, developers can easily pipe avatars into their app, game or website,” as per the company’s LinkedIn page. 

Furthermore, in regard Google has also enhanced the emoji experience for its rather wide base of users, now offering personalised experience to them with the newly rolled out custom emojis for the web versions of Chat.

Data of UK and EU Users is Accessible to TikTok Staff in China

 


As part of an investigation by the BBC, it was disclosed that some of TikTok's workers had access to data from accounts in the UK and the European Union. These accounts have been made public by the Chinese company. 

As a result of a demonstrated need to do their work, Facebook said they had adopted the "privacy policy" as part of their "legal obligations." 

The company has come under scrutiny from authorities around the world in the past few years, including those from the UK and the US, over concerns over the possible transfer of data to Chinese officials. 

According to a report by the New York Times, the US government has called for the app to be banned in the country.
• US citizens can't be tracked by TikTok, the app's developers claim. 
• As far as I'm concerned, I've learned more on TikTok than I ever did in school. 

It has been stated that the policy applies to "the European Economic Area, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland" according to TikTok's website. 

As described in a statement on Wednesday by Elaine Fox, the platform's head of privacy and security for Europe, the platform's global team plays a key role in maintaining a "consistent, enjoyable, and safe" experience for users. 

Even though TikTok currently stores European user data in the US and Singapore, Ms. Fox explained that "we have allowed certain employees from our corporate group based in Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States remote access to TikTok European user data." 

To limit the number of employees who have access to European user data, minimize data flows outside of the region, and store European user data locally, our main focus is on controlling access to European user data among employees. 

Additionally, she said the approach was subject to a series of robust security controls and approval protocols, and it was conducted in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) regarding personal data use. 

An official at the US Communications Watchdog, the country's leading watchdog for communications, made the announcement the same week that he recommended a ban on TikTok. 

Brendan Carr, one of the commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told the Washington Post that there does not appear to be anything other than a ban as a solution to the problem.

There is no way in this world where you can come up with adequate protection. This is because the Chinese communist party will not fall into the hands of the Chinese communist regime. This is because he did not believe there was a world in which such protection could be implemented. 

In a series of interviews, ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, has denied that the organization is controlled by the Chinese government. 

Authorities in the UK, EU and the United States have systematically monitored the app for the past few years. 

The investigation is underway 


As a result of the public concern expressed in August by MPs regarding the risks of data being disclosed to the Chinese government, the UK Parliament closed the account for its TikTok service.

According to senior MPs and members of the parliament, the account should be removed until TikTok can give "credible assurances" that it will not be used to leak data to Beijing until that time. 

The Irish Data Protection Commission has also investigated the app about two privacy-related issues for which it acts as a lead regulator in the EU. 

A watchdog has begun investigating TikTok's processing of the personal data of children as part of a monitoring program. The company is also investigating whether its actions regarding the transfer of personal data overseas to other countries have been by EU law, for instance, to China. 

The same year, a US security panel ordered ByteDance to sell off its American operations. This was due to concerns that users' data may be shared with Chinese authorities, prompting ByteDance to sell off its American operations. 

In June this year, TikTok said it had migrated US users' information to servers run by American software giant Oracle in Austin, Texas. 

As reported last month, TikTok denied the report that a Chinese team at ByteDance was planning on using the app to track the locations of American citizens while they use the app. 

According to the social media company, TikTok has never been used as an instrument of targeting by the American government, activists, public figures, or journalists. 

Ms. Fox said on Wednesday that the app does not collect precise location data from its users in Europe, which is according to the European Union. 

With almost 4 billion downloads, TikTok is the world's fastest-growing social media app and has become one of the most popular in the world. 

According to analysis company Sensor Tower, the company has garnered more than $6.2 billion (£5.4 billion) in gross revenue from in-app purchases since its launch in 2017. It tracks trends related to mobile apps.

TikTok has Grown Into a Global Giant, United States has Threatened to Rein it in

 

This summer was a period of economic uncertainty for much of the tech industry, resulting in a drop in bitcoin prices, hundreds of layoffs, and a hiring freeze. It was also the summer that US regulators crossed the aisle to reach an agreement: it was time for stricter rules for the video platform TikTok. 

TikTok has been the focus of rare bipartisan calls for regulation and investigation since Buzzfeed reported in June that employees of TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance had access to US consumer data. When the FBI director, Christopher Wray, called Chinese espionage the "greatest long-term threat to our nation's... economic vitality" in July, those inquiries became more pressing.

“If you are an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data,” Wray said. “We’ve now reached the point where the FBI is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours.”

The China question

TikTok is a relatively new player in the arena of massive global social media platforms, but it has already piqued the interest of European regulators. New laws in the UK and the EU concerning child safety and general internet safety have compelled the company to become more transparent about how it operates and how content spreads on its platform.

In the United States, efforts to rein in the video platform have only recently gained traction, though there is little doubt that the round of regulatory pressure is warranted. With 1 billion users, the platform, which uses an algorithmic feed to push short-form videos to users, has had its fair share of misinformation, data privacy concerns, and child safety concerns.

The app's connection to China is one of the issues that US lawmakers are most publicly focused on.   TikTok has consistently stated that the data of its US users is stored in Virginia data centers and backed up in Singapore. In June, the company announced that all US user data would be routed through Oracle servers in the United States.

However, recordings of TikTok executives obtained by BuzzFeed News indicate that ByteDance employees based in China accessed US user data multiple times between September 2021 and January 2022. “Everything is seen in China,” one TikTok employee reportedly said in a meeting.

On June 23, a bipartisan group of five senators proposed a new bill that would prohibit companies from sending American users' data to "high risk foreign countries." In July, Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate TikTok.

“TikTok, their parent company ByteDance, and other China-based tech companies are required by Chinese law to share their information with the Communist party,” Warner said. “Allowing access to American data, down to biometrics such as face prints and voiceprints, poses a great risk to not only individual privacy but to national security.”

Brendan Carr, the FCC's senior Republican commissioner, said the BuzzFeed News story marked a watershed moment in lawmakers' thinking about TikTok. “What really changed things was it wasn’t people theorizing or government officials saying stuff in talking points that you weren’t really sure if there was any there, there. This was a report that had internal communications and leaked audio of internal meetings … that just blew the doors off of all of [TikTok’s] representations about how it handled data and showed it to be gaslighting.”

Carr, who has advocated for Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their stores, said the revelations made TikTok's national security concerns more real than ever before and brought people from different political parties together.

TikTok claims that US lawmakers' concerns about national security are exaggerated and that the platform does not share user data with the Chinese government. "Neither would we if asked," company spokesperson Maureen Shanahan said.

Shanahan stated that the company has been open about its efforts to limit employees' access to US user data, and the BuzzFeed News report demonstrates that TikTok is "doing what it said it would do."

“In 2021, TikTok engaged consultants to help assess how to limit data access to US user data,” Shanahan said in a statement. “In the 80 leaked meetings, there were 14 statements indicating that engineers in China had access to US data … It is unfortunate that BuzzFeed cherry-picked quotes from meetings about those very efforts and failed to provide adequate context.”

“Like many global companies, TikTok has engineering teams around the world,” Shanahan said. “We employ access controls like encryption and security monitoring to secure user data, and the access approval process is overseen by our US-based security team.”

Bigger than China

Experts contacted by the Guardian did not question China's cybersecurity threat to the US. However, some expressed concern that regulators' focus on TikTok's China connection would divert attention away from other pressing issues, such as TikTok's algorithm and how much user data the company collects, stores, and shares with other US entities.

There is little information available about the amount of user data TikTok collects and shares with entities in the United States. Even Oracle, the company TikTok hired to audit its algorithms and data privacy policies in order to reassure lawmakers that the platform is free of Chinese influence, has been accused of keeping dossiers on 5 million people worldwide. There are currently no federal regulations in place to safeguard such information.

“The China question to me is almost a red herring because there’s so little being done to protect user privacy generally in the US,” said Sara Collins, a senior policy counsel at the non-profit public interest group Public Knowledge. “The thing I would be concerned about is the same stuff that we’re concerned about with Facebook or with Google. It’s their data privacy practices, what they’re doing with that data, how they’re monetizing it, and what adverse effects are there on users.”

A federal privacy bill currently being debated in Congress could begin to address these concerns. According to Collins, whose employer Public Knowledge works on content moderation and regulation issues, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) would "actually create a privacy framework for all these companies that would affect TikTok and its business model." (TikTok has made donations to Public Knowledge.)
 
In the meantime, states are taking control of the situation. California passed a landmark child-only safety bill that would require platforms like TikTok and Instagram to vet any products geared toward children before releasing them, as well as to implement privacy safeguards for younger users by default.

Marc Faddoul, co-director of Tracking Exposed, an organization that tracks how TikTok's algorithm works, believes that congressional leaders' focus on the platform's China connections misses the mark when it comes to pressing for more information about the app's algorithm.

“To me, what’s missing from regulators’ radars is that the biggest leverage point in disseminating content online is the mechanics of algorithmic promotion and algorithmic demotion because taking down an individual piece of content, especially if it has already been spread, does little to mitigate the potential harm,” Faddoul said. Those opaque mechanisms, he argued, pose “the biggest threat in terms of interference in internal politics or popular opinion”.

There isn't much information available about how the algorithm decides which content to promote to the top of each person's For You Page. However, in many cases, that content has proven to have real-world implications. Domestic extremists, for example, used TikTok to promote violence and call on their followers to bring guns to the US Capitol in the run-up to the January 6 riots, according to a Department of Homeland Security intelligence document. According to the document, the platform is also rife with violent extremist content.

TikTok says it uses “a combination of technology and thousands of safety professionals” to identify and remove videos that violate its policies. AB Obi-Okoye, a spokesman for the company, said TikTok will continue those efforts, factchecking content in over 30 languages.

“Factchecking is just one component of how we moderate content,” Obi-Okoye continued. “We use a combination of publicly available information as well as the information we receive from our factchecking partners to help us assess content.”

It's also critical to understand how TikTok's algorithm works, according to Faddoul. As the Guardian first reported, the company has previously directed its moderators to censor certain posts, including those mentioning Tiananmen Square or Tibetan independence, according to Faddoul. Obi-Okoye stated that those policies were outdated and no longer in use.  “Today, we take a nuanced approach to moderation, including building out a global team with deep industry experience and working with external content and safety advisory councils,” Obi-Okoye said.

Is there too much or too little oversight?

While experts and lawmakers agree that more regulation is needed, there is significant disagreement about how much regulatory scrutiny TikTok has historically received, especially in comparison to players such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

Carr, the FCC commissioner, attributes some of the apparent lack of focus on TikTok to a politicization of the debate after Donald Trump signed an executive order in 2020 requiring ByteDance to sell or spin off its US TikTok business. (That order has since been revoked by Joe Biden.)

Because of TikTok's ties to China, he believes the threats it poses are in a different category than those posed by Facebook and Google. And, in comparison to other Chinese-based tech companies like Huawei and ZTE, TikTok has "largely skated and avoided having to account for some very serious national security concerns," according to Carr.

How To Get Thousands Of Followers On TikTok?

 


There is a traffic cannon on TikTok 

The idea of TikTok is that it collects videos that resonate with its users, then transmits them to thousands, if not millions, of viewers across the world. This platform is reminiscent of the News Feed spread on Facebook during the middle of the 2010s. In this case, even moderately worthy content could find a massive audience on the platform. With TikTok's algorithm, you need not have a large following to have a high chance of landing tons of traffic.

Despite the popularity of TikTok, the demand for quality videos is far exceeding the supply of videos. As a result, even decent videos quickly become viral on TikTok because so many people watch them. According to Nick Cicero, vice president of strategy at digital analytics company Conviva, "It is the place where people spend the most time, but it is also the platform that's the least known". People jumping in at this moment have a great opportunity, and there could be a lot of money to make.

The algorithm of TikTok can be summarized as follows:

According to TikTok's algorithm, every video is seeded to a random group of users first. Once they have tested the video, it decides whether or not to blast the video further. Analyst Nathan Baschez refers to this phenomenon as "universal basic distribution," which is an appropriate term. There are at least a few hundred views for every video that is uploaded on TikTok. After that, you will either see it fade away or it will gain thousands more views almost as fast as it appeared. 

As Zac Goodsir said, the TikTok app will distribute posts according to the flow of traffic in brackets, said Zac Goodsir, co-founder of Supermix, the agency on which these videos are performed. A few hundred video views on TikTok will get followed by a few thousand, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands in almost a step-by-step pattern, as the number of views rises. 

Whenever a distribution is made, the algorithm waits, assesses, and then reacts to it to reach its goal. Consequently, the content published on the platform can be shared widely across all the affiliated platforms in no time, regardless of their affiliation. Taking a wide range of content into consideration for each recommendation, it works to ensure a user's feed is filled with relevant stuff. This ensures that it can be personalized to their taste.

The liability of Instagram 

It seems that Instagram is not using this "universal basic distribution" approach to distribute your content, relying more on your followers. When a brand new Instagram account is created and the same videos from TikTok are posted, they did not receive any views. Possibly, this is because the account was just created, newly created, or it only had a few followers at the time. As a result of Instagram not seeding Reels from all of its accounts, it might miss videos that its users might find interesting. 

This could limit Instagram's ability to provide users with what they want. The consequent consequence could also result in fewer people publishing on those sites, another risk that might lead to low-quality content being published on them. As for Instagram's marketing strategy, Goodsir said they are not pushing it as heavily anymore. The results of the experiment are yet to be seen, he said. 

There is no doubt that contentiousness sells 

It has been proven over the years that provoking outrage and division on traditional social media is the surest way to go viral. 

It was expected that Tiktok would be different from other social media apps. It is unfortunate, but in the majority of cases, the videos that get the most distribution are the ones with flame wars in the comments. 

As Goodsir explained, he thinks that it is helpful to hear different opinions, as well as different opinions. Because both of those factors drive engagement, which drives views to TikTok, as well as the downside. 

The pristine condition of YouTube Shorts 

As far as competing with TikTok is concerned, YouTube Shorts may have the highest chance of succeeding. In an interview on Big Technology Podcast, Ranjan Roy, author of Margins, said that one of their strengths has been contextual, AI-based recommendations. 

Therefore, YouTube is already able to recommend videos based on your watching habits. Applying that technology to Shorts will give it a serious advantage over other video-sharing platforms. In addition to its short videos, YouTube also produces long-form videos, which can appeal to users who are interested in getting more content from their favorite YouTube accounts. 

The creators also benefit from this, so it is a win-win for both of them. Several people have even been found to search for the full episode in the comments section, proving that shorts can attract a wide audience even to small YouTube channels. 

The risk of TikTok remains high

This is a risky endeavor since TikTok may not be what it used to be. This makes all the efforts put into it somewhat risky since it may not last forever. 

It turns out that a lot of marketers are really scared to dive into TikTok and invest their budgets because they are concerned the app will be shut down shortly, said Cicero. 

By sitting out TikTok in favor of safer bets, established brands and content creators will be putting maximum resources into building their brands. This will enable TikTok to grow into a solid platform for others looking for an audience. But the board can turn upside down anytime.

Information Commissioner Office Made a Regulatory Fine of $27 Million on Tiktok

 

The information commissioner's office of the United Kingdom recently fined Tiktok $29 million, having provisionally discovered that Tiktok had breached the laws of child data protection for two years. 
 
The privacy regulatory body of the United Kingdom reported the exploitation of protection laws of the country’s data. There was an investigation that concluded that TikTok may have breached the laws of data protection from May 2018 to July 2020. 
  
The fine is determined by the calculation of 4% of TikTok’s annual turnover globally. The ICO issued TikTok with a “notice of intent” with a fine of up to $27 million, which is considered the highest in ICO’s history as the largest amount paid till now is $20 million to British Airways. 
 
The Information Commissioner's office has pointed out in regard to Tiktok that it may breach privacy by processing data of minors under 13 years old without parental consent, failing to provide complete information to users "in a concise, transparent, and easily understandable manner" and processing unsuitable "special category" data without legal authority. 
 
The ICO defines “special category data” as any use of sensitive personal data including sexual orientation, religious beliefs, culture and nationality, political perspective, and biometric data. 
 
The information commissioner, John Edwards commented on TikTok’s failure in fulfilling its legal duties of protecting the privacy of data of its young users. He stated, "we all want children to be able to learn and experience the digital world, but with proper data privacy protection.” 
 
In John’s opinion, digital learning is essential for children, but the companies offering the digital services should be legally responsible for ensuring that reasonable protection measures are incorporated into these services, as during the investigation of TikTok it was found to be provisionally lacking in these measures.  
 
ICO added to its statement that the findings from the investigation are provisional and no final conclusions can be drawn at this time. A spokesperson from Tiktok in a conversation with TechCrunch shared that they do respect the concerns expressed by the ICO about security and protection laws, but that they disagree with the ICO's views regarding Tiktok's privacy policies.

TikTok Android Vulnerability Identified by Microsoft 

 

In the TikTok Android app, Microsoft has described a high-severity weakness that might have enabled a hacker to take over an account by luring users into clicking on a link.

The bug's current identification is CVE-2022-28799. According to Microsoft, the flaw has not yet been exploited by the public, despite the app having an estimated 1.5 billion downloads on the Play Store. Microsoft advises all TikTok users on Android to upgrade the app to the most recent version while it is being patched.

In fact, Microsoft detected over 70 vulnerable JavaScript methods that, when combined with a bug to take control of WebView, might be exploited to provide the attacker's capability.

Threat actors could execute authenticated HTTP queries or access or modify the private information of TikTok users using the ways that were publicly disclosed.

In essence, attackers who would have been successful in exploiting this vulnerability might have easily:
  • Retrieved the users' authentication tokens by triggering a request to a server under their control and logging the cookie and the request headers.
  • Retrieved or modified the users' TikTok account data, including private videos and profile settings by triggering a request to a TikTok endpoint and retrieving the reply via the JavaScript callback.
"The TikTok Android app was revealed to have a WebView Hijacking vulnerability due to an unvalidated deep link on an invalid argument. Through a JavaScript interface, this may have led to account hijacking, " The HackerOne  explained in an article.

Only about a month after Microsoft first revealed the security flaw, TikTok version 23.7.3 was launched with a patch to address the CVE-2022-28799 tracking number.

Microsoft further said that "Once the targeted TikTok user clicks the hacker's specially constructed malicious link, the attacker's server is granted total access to the JavaScript bridge and can activate any accessible functionality."

The server of the attacker sends back an HTML page with JavaScript code that modifies the user's profile biography and sends video upload tokens back to the attacker.

Attackers with complete access to users' accounts could modify their profile information, send messages, upload movies, and even post private videos.

Tiktok has also fixed further security vulnerabilities that might have let hackers steal customers' personal details or take over their accounts to tamper with footage.

TikTok owner Chinese company clarifies to Microsoft that it would not be its new owner

 

Following President Donald Trump's executive order that labeled the video-sharing application TikTok as a "national emergency", its owner has a September 15 deadline decided to either sell the app to a US company or see the service banned completely banned from the US market.

Be that as it may, Microsoft had already stepped in the race before the official announcement came from the president, saying it was interested in taking up TikTok and incorporate "world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections" to the app if it did. 

By uniting with Walmart to co-bid for the Chinese company's US, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand operations. 

Microsoft authorities dubbed the conversations as "preliminary", highlighting that it was not planning to give any further updates on the discussions until there was a definitive result. ByteDance, the Chinese multinational internet technology, said it would exclude TikTok's algorithm as a feature of the sale, as per a South China Morning Post report, and further clarified to Microsoft that it would not be its new owner.

Sunday's blog post emphasized what Microsoft has expressed right from the beginning - that the potential procurement would have required "significant changes" to the application's present status. 

The company moreover explained in a blog post, "ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft, we are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users while protecting national security interests." 

"To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement.." 

Nonetheless, following Microsoft's bid, Oracle has also started holding discussions with ByteDance, indicating its interest in the video-sharing application. 


The Wall Street Journal on Monday morning revealed that Oracle would soon be announced as TikTok's "trusted tech partner" and that the video-sharing platform's sale would not actually be organized as an acquisition. 

Meanwhile, Tik Tok affirms that it would launch a lawsuit against the US government concerning its ban. Any possible lawsuit, however, would not keep the company from being constrained to auction the application in the US market.

TikTok Files Lawsuit Against the U.S. Government Over Ban of Its Application


Tiktok has confirmed that it is going to sue the U.S. government for banning the use of Tiktok application in the United States. However, the Lawsuit will not ensure the Chinese company's future in the U.S. market even if it wins. The company claims that it has been trying to agree with Donald Trump administration's concerns and has been trying to reach a consensus for one year. Instead of entering a general agreement, the U.S. government is not paying attention to this issue, says TikTok. According to the company, the administration is not willing to offer any opportunities to resolve the problems.


Reuter reports, "it was not immediately clear which court TikTok plans to file its lawsuit. The company had previously said it was exploring its legal options, and its employees were also preparing their own lawsuit. While TikTok is best known for its anodyne videos of people dancing and going viral among teenagers, U.S. officials have expressed concerns that information on users could be passed on to China's communist government."

Tiktok says that to safeguard fair treatment of its users' and justice, it has no other option than to challenge the Trump administration in the court. Earlier this month, Trump had banned financial dealings with Tiktok, owned by ByteDance and WeChat, owned by Tencent. According to him, these Chinese apps could be a threat to U.S. national security, economy, and trade affairs. According to the administration, TikTok stores a large amount of user data, including internet usage, browser history, network data, and location.

The Chinese Communist Party can exploit this data and use it for extortion purposes, blackmail, cyberattacks, and even espionage acts. "TikTok did not specify which court it planned to tap for its lawsuit, but this move would not stop the company from being compelled to relinquish its U.S. operations, which was laid out under Trump's second executive order issued on August 14 and was not subject to judicial review," reports ZDNet. In response, TikTok says that it modified its user policies to deal with the issue, bringing new measures to prevent misinformation and ensure user privacy.

Indians to use VPN as a way to evade ban on Chinese Apps


It seems like people have found a way to circumvent government's ban on 59 Chinese Apps including favorites like TikTok, Share it, Shien, Clash of Kings, and many more and have moved on to use VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access these apps.


Right after the ban announcement by government companies like SatoshiVPNS put an advert on their social media stating, Ann investment in a VPN is an investment that always pays for itself — many times over.” There have been articles on blabberpost and others recommending how and which VPN to use to access the banned applications.

And it's not the first time Indians have turned to VPN to dodge regulations, in fact, we are quite notorious when it comes to VPN. After Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea - the largest telecom providers in the country- took down porn websites from their network, India fell only three steps from 12 to 15 in terms of visitors to Pornhub. A 2019 report from Pornhub revealed that 91% of Indian users access the site via mobile phone.

 Since February, India has seen a growth of 15% in VPN usage, according to a report by ExpressVPN; the global average stands at 21%. 

By the books, using VPN is not illegal in India for as much as it's not used for any illegal activity. The most common use of a VPN in the country is either to watch pornography or to access torrents and both of these do not summon legal actions.

Since the suspension of Internet service from August 2019 till March 2020 in the Kashmir Valley and the aftermath of weak 2g and 3g networks, many citizens turned to VPN in order to reach blocked content Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. The government even arrested some for using VPN to promote unlawful activities.
after the ban, Google and Apple App Store removed TikTok and Helo for Indian users but other banned apps like Browsers, Club Factory, Shein, ShareIT, and Clash of Kings are still listed on both the stores.

Apple catches TikTok spying on million of iPhone users globally


Apple announced its latest OS iOS14 at this year's WWDC and during the beta testing for the same, the tech giant caught TikTok recording user's cut-paste data and whatever the user was typing on their keyboard.


The new alert on iOS14 lets the user know if any app is pasting from the clipboard and if they are reading from the cut-paste data. This alert leads to TikTok's reveal. This alert was added based on the research by German software engineer Tommy Mysk in February; he discovered that every app installed on an iPhone or iPad can access clipboard data. And thus Apple added this new banner alert in its latest OS.

Soon after the update, many users started complaining about the issue, “Hey @tiktok_us, why do you paste from my clipboard every time I type a LETTER in your comment box?” wrote @MaxelAmador actor and podcast host on Twitter. “Shout out to iOS 14 for shining a light on this HUGE invasion of privacy.” Though many other apps like Accu Weather, Call of Duty Mobile, and even Google News can read clipboard data it seems strange as to why TikTok would need to do so.

After finding this glitch, Apple released a patch and fixing the issue, even TikTok said in March that it would stop the practice but it seems like they are still snooping on user's data.

In response, the social media app stated, “For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion”. 

The clipboard tool in iOS helps the user to copy text and images and paste them on another app, the glitch leads to apps access this data, making it quite worrisome. And all this data could be accessed without the user's consent. Apple should be appalled for this expose but another pressing question remains- should the Android community be worried about the same?

Google and Apple removes TikTok from App Stores in India




Google and Apple has removed the Chinese video app Tiktok from their App Stores, a day after Indian Government urged the companies to do so. 

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) requested the companies to block the app after the  state court ordered to ban access of the app as questions regarding its usage were raised. It was noted that people were using it for pornographic purposes and exploiting children.

According to  analytics firm Sensor Tower, TikTok had the highest number of users in India, and 75% of them were women. It has been downloaded more than 230 million times. 

However, a TikTok representative said that he “faith in the Indian judicial system.” The company hopes that they would be able to lift the ban and would come stronger than before, “We are optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by over 120 million monthly active users in India.”

The app has already banned in Bangladesh and had faced largest ever fine in the United States for illegaly collecting informations on children. 

TikTok users in India who had previously downloaded the app on their phones were still able to use the service on Wednesday.

TikTok's official statement: ’’At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India.’’

‘’In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content. To date, we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines, following an exhaustive review of content generated by our users in India."




Indian Government asks Apple and Google to remove TikTok from App Stores







The government of India has asked Google and Apple to remove the Chinese short-video sharing application TikTok from their app stores.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) reportedly asked the companies to do so after the Supreme Court of India, refused to stay an order by the Madras High Court to ban the app. 

The bench was headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and the matter was posted till April 22, as the Madras High Court is expected to hear the case on April 16. 

TikTok's official statement: ’’As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court today, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex party ad interim order. The Supreme Court has listed the matter again for April 22, 2019, to be apprised of the outcome of the hearing on the April 16th, 2019 before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.’’

‘’At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India.’’

‘’In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content. To date, we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines, following an exhaustive review of content generated by our users in India."