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TikTok Fined $5.4 Million by French Regulator for Violating Cookie Laws

TikTok Fined $5.4 Million by French Regulator for Violating Cookie Laws
Jan 14, 2023 Privacy / Online Safety
Popular short-form video hosting service TikTok has been fined €5 million (about $5.4 million) by the French data protection watchdog for breaking cookie consent rules, making it the latest platform to face similar penalties after  Amazon, Google, Meta , and  Microsoft  since 2020. "Users of 'tiktok[.]com' could not refuse cookies as easily as accepting them and they were not informed in a sufficiently precise way of the objectives of the different cookies," the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL)  said  in a statement. The regulator said it conducted several audits between May 2020 and June 2022, finding that the ByteDance-owned company did not offer a straightforward option to refuse all cookies as opposed to just one click for accepting them. The option to "refuse all" cookies was introduced by TikTok in February 2022. "Making the opt-out mechanism more complex is in fact discouraging users from refusing cookies and

The Evolving Tactics of Vidar Stealer: From Phishing Emails to Social Media

The Evolving Tactics of Vidar Stealer: From Phishing Emails to Social Media
Jan 05, 2023 Data Security / Malware
The notorious information-stealer known as  Vidar  is continuing to leverage popular social media services such as TikTok, Telegram, Steam, and Mastodon as an intermediate command-and-control (C2) server. "When a user creates an account on an online platform, a unique account page that can be accessed by anyone is generated," AhnLab Security Emergency Response Center (ASEC) disclosed in a technical analysis  published  late last month. "Threat actors write identifying characters and the C2 address in parts of this page." In other words, the technique relies on actor-controlled throwaway accounts created on social media to retrieve the C2 address. An advantage to this approach is that should the C2 server be taken down or blocked, the adversary can trivially get around the restrictions by setting up a new server and editing the account pages to allow the previously distributed malware to communicate with the server. Vidar, first identified in 2018, is a  commer

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Hackers Using Trending TikTok 'Invisible Challenge' to Spread Malware

Hackers Using Trending TikTok 'Invisible Challenge' to Spread Malware
Nov 29, 2022
Threat actors are capitalizing on a popular TikTok challenge to trick users into downloading information-stealing malware, according to new research from Checkmarx. The trend, called  Invisible Challenge , involves applying a filter known as  Invisible Body  that just leaves behind a silhouette of the person's body. But the fact that individuals filming such videos could be undressed has led to a nefarious scheme wherein the attackers post TikTok videos with links to rogue software dubbed "unfilter" that purport to remove the applied filters. "Instructions to get the 'unfilter' software deploy  WASP stealer malware  hiding inside malicious Python packages," Checkmarx researcher Guy Nachshon  said  in a Monday analysis. The WASP stealer (aka W4SP Stealer) is a malware that's designed to steal users' passwords, Discord accounts, cryptocurrency wallets, and other sensitive information. The TikTok videos posted by the attackers, @learncyber an

New TikTok Privacy Policy Confirms Chinese Staff Can Access European Users' Data

New TikTok Privacy Policy Confirms Chinese Staff Can Access European Users' Data
Nov 03, 2022
Popular short-form video-sharing service TikTok is revising its  privacy policy  for European users to make it explicitly clear that user data can be accessed by some employees from across the world, including China. The ByteDance-owned platform, which currently stores European user data in the U.S. and Singapore, said the revision is part of its ongoing data governance efforts to limit employee access to users in the region, minimize data flows outside of it, and store the information locally. The privacy policy update applies to users located in the U.K., the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland, and goes into effect on December 2, 2022, according to  The Guardian . "Based on a demonstrated need to do their job, subject to a series of robust security controls and approval protocols, and by way of methods that are recognised under the GDPR, we allow certain employees within our corporate group located in Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, S

TikTok Denies Data Breach Reportedly Exposing Over 2 Billion Users' Information

TikTok Denies Data Breach Reportedly Exposing Over 2 Billion Users' Information
Sep 05, 2022
Popular short-form social video service TikTok denied reports that it was breached by a hacking group, after it claimed to have gained access to an insecure cloud server. "TikTok prioritizes the privacy and security of our users' data," the ByteDance-owned company told The Hacker News. "Our security team investigated these claims and found no evidence of a security breach." The denial follows alleged reports of a hack that surfaced on the Breach Forums message board on September 3, with the threat actor noting that the server holds 2.05 billion records in a humongous 790GB database. "Who would have thought that TikTok would decide to store all their internal backend source code on one Alibaba Cloud instance using a trashy password?," the hacking group known as BlueHornet (aka  AgainstTheWest )  tweeted  over the weekend. Bob Diachenko, threat intelligence researcher at Security Discovery,  said  the breach is "real" and that the data i

Microsoft Discover Severe 'One-Click' Exploit for TikTok Android App

Microsoft Discover Severe ‘One-Click’ Exploit for TikTok Android App
Sep 01, 2022
Microsoft on Wednesday disclosed details of a now-patched "high severity vulnerability" in the TikTok app for Android that could let attackers take over accounts when victims clicked on a malicious link. "Attackers could have leveraged the vulnerability to hijack an account without users' awareness if a targeted user simply clicked a specially crafted link," Dimitrios Valsamaras of the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team  said  in a write-up. Successful exploitation of the flaw could have permitted malicious actors to access and modify users' TikTok profiles and sensitive information, leading to the unauthorized exposure of private videos. Attackers could also have abused the bug to send messages and upload videos on behalf of users. The issue, addressed in version 23.7.3, impacts two flavors of its Android app com.ss.android.ugc.trill (for East and Southeast Asian users) and com.zhiliaoapp.musically (for users in other countries except for India, wher

TikTok Postpones Privacy Policy Update in Europe After Italy Warns of GDPR Breach

TikTok Postpones Privacy Policy Update in Europe After Italy Warns of GDPR Breach
Jul 12, 2022
Popular video-sharing platform TikTok on Tuesday agreed to pause a controversial privacy policy update that could have allowed it to serve targeted ads based on users' activity on the social video platform without their permission to do so. The reversal, reported by  TechCrunch , comes a day after the Italian data protection authority — the Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali — warned the company against the change, citing violations of data protection laws. "The personal data stored in users' devices may not be used to profile those users and send personalized ads without their explicit consent," the Garante  said . The formal warning was in response to a privacy policy revision that noted the service had historically asked users' "consent" to their on-TikTok activity and off-TikTok activity to serve personalized ads and that, therefore, it intends to stop asking users for their permission to profile their behavior and process personal dat

TikTok Assures U.S. Lawmakers it's Working to Safeguard User Data From Chinese Staff

TikTok Assures U.S. Lawmakers it's Working to Safeguard User Data From Chinese Staff
Jul 02, 2022
Following heightened worries that U.S. users' data had been accessed by TikTok engineers in China between September 2021 and January 2022, the company sought to assuage U.S. lawmakers that it's taking steps to "strengthen data security." The admission that some China-based employees can access information from U.S. users came in a letter sent to nine senators, which further noted that the procedure requires the individuals to clear numerous internal security protocols. The contents of the letter, first  reported  by The New York Times, shares more details about TikTok's plans to address data security concerns through a multi-pronged initiative codenamed "Project Texas." "Employees outside the U.S., including China-based employees, can have access to TikTok U.S. user data subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based security team," TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew wrote in the m

U.S. FCC Commissioner Asks Apple and Google to Remove TikTok from App Stores

U.S. FCC Commissioner Asks Apple and Google to Remove TikTok from App Stores
Jun 30, 2022
One of the commissioners of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has renewed calls asking for Apple and Google to boot the popular video-sharing platform TikTok from their app stores citing "its pattern of surreptitious data practices." "It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing's apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data," Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the FCC,  wrote  in a letter to Apple and Google's chief executives. TikTok, in September 2021,  disclosed  that there are one billion people who use its app every month, making it one of the largest social media platforms after Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and WeChat. Carr further emphasized that the short-form video service is far from just an app for sharing funny videos or memes, calling out its features as "sheep's clothing" intended to mask its core funct

TikTok Quietly Updated Its Privacy Policy to Collect Users' Biometric Data

TikTok Quietly Updated Its Privacy Policy to Collect Users' Biometric Data
Jun 05, 2021
Popular short-form video-sharing service TikTok quietly revised its privacy policy in the U.S., allowing it to automatically collect biometric information such as faceprints and voiceprints from the content its users post on the platform. The policy change, first spotted by TechCrunch , went into effect on June 2. TikTok users who reside in the European Economic Area (EEA), the U.K., Switzerland, and other geographies (excluding India) where the service operates are exempted from the changes. "We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under U.S. laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content. Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection," the ByteDance-owned company  said  in a newly introduced section called "Image and Audio Information." On top of this, the company's privacy policy also notes that it may collect information about "the nature of the

TikTok Bug Could Have Exposed Users' Profile Data and Phone Numbers

TikTok Bug Could Have Exposed Users' Profile Data and Phone Numbers
Jan 26, 2021
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday disclosed a now-patched security flaw in TikTok that could have potentially enabled an attacker to build a database of the app's users and their associated phone numbers for future malicious activity. Although this flaw only impacts those users who have linked a phone number with their account or logged in with a phone number, a successful exploitation of the vulnerability could have resulted in data leakage and privacy violation, Check Point Research said in an analysis shared with The Hacker News. TikTok has deployed a fix to address the shortcoming following responsible disclosure from Check Point researchers. The newly discovered bug resides in TikTok's " Find friends " feature that allows users to sync their contacts with the service to identify potential people to follow. The contacts are uploaded to TikTok via an HTTP request in the form of a list that consists of hashed contact names and the corresponding phone numbe

Exclusive: Any Chingari App (Indian TikTok Clone) Account Can Be Hacked Easily

Exclusive: Any Chingari App (Indian TikTok Clone) Account Can Be Hacked Easily
Jul 11, 2020
Following vulnerability disclosure in the Mitron app , another viral TikTok clone in India has now been found vulnerable to a critical but easy-to-exploit authentication bypass vulnerability, allowing anyone to hijack any user account and tamper with their information, content, and even upload unauthorized videos. The Indian video sharing app, called Chingari, is available for Android and iOS smartphones through official app stores, designed to let users record short-form videos, catch up on the news, and connect with other users via a direct message feature. Originally launched in November 2018, Chingari has witnessed a huge surge in popularity over the past few days in the wake of India's ban on Chinese-owned apps late last month, crossing 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store in under a month. The Indian government recently banned 59 apps and services , including ByteDance's TikTok, Alibaba Group's UC Browser and UC News, and Tencent's WeChat over priv

Exclusive – Any Mitron (Viral TikTok Clone) Profile Can Be Hacked in Seconds

Exclusive – Any Mitron (Viral TikTok Clone) Profile Can Be Hacked in Seconds
May 30, 2020
Mitron (means "friends" in Hindi), you have been fooled again! Mitron is not really a 'Made in India' product, and the viral app contains a highly critical, unpatched vulnerability that could allow anyone to hack into any user account without requiring interaction from the targeted users or their passwords. I am sure many of you already know what TikTok is, and those still unaware, it's a highly popular video social platform where people upload short videos of themselves doing things like lip-syncing and dancing. The wrath faced by Chinese-owned TikTok from all directions—mostly due to data security and ethnopolitical reasons—gave birth to new alternatives in the market, one of which is the Mitron app for Android. Mitron video social platform recently caught headlines when the Android app crazily gained over 5 million installations and 250,000 5-star ratings in just 48 days after being released on the Google Play Store. Popped out of nowhere, Mitron i

Researchers Demonstrate How to Hack Any TikTok Account by Sending SMS

Researchers Demonstrate How to Hack Any TikTok Account by Sending SMS
Jan 08, 2020
TikTok , the 3rd most downloaded app in 2019, is under intense scrutiny over users' privacy, censoring politically controversial content and on national-security grounds—but it's not over yet, as the security of billions of TikTok users would be now under question. The famous Chinese viral video-sharing app contained potentially dangerous vulnerabilities that could have allowed remote attackers to hijack any user account just by knowing the mobile number of targeted victims. In a report privately shared with The Hacker News, cybersecurity researchers at Check Point revealed that chaining multiple vulnerabilities allowed them to remotely execute malicious code and perform unwanted actions on behalf of the victims without their consent. The reported vulnerabilities include low severity issues like SMS link spoofing, open redirection, and cross-site scripting (XSS) that when combined could allow a remote attacker to perform high impact attacks, including: delete any videos
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