Does the TikTok data policy issue affect the security of cryptocurrencies?

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2022-07-29 19:47:40

Data security concerns raised over TikTok’s US operations could put crypto users’ data at risk

Tiktok’s user data policy causes information security concerns for users

TikTok is one of the most popular apps globally as it becomes a social media app surpassing one billion users by 2022. While daily users happily flip through the latest videos from the most popular ones. their favorite content creators, concerns about data security continue to be a concern for the Chinese social networking tech giant.

Byte Dance, the parent company of the Tiktok brand, has faced criticism over the past few years regarding security concerns over data collection policies. Meanwhile, the application is increasingly popular and continues to increase the number of users around the world. Many users who are also active in the crypto space have questioned whether important data such as wallet private keys could be compromised by TikTok’s alleged data activities.

US Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr has called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores by June 2022, claiming the app “collects sensitive data mass that reports just found to be being accessed in Beijing.”

Two years earlier, cyber-intelligence firm Check Point Research released a report highlighting vulnerabilities in the TikTok app. These include the ability to control TikTok accounts and manipulate content, delete and upload unauthorized videos, make private “hidden” videos public, and gain access to websites. private email and phone number.

The company shared these discovered exploits with TikTok in late 2019 and the company has deployed solutions for the vulnerabilities. Check Point Research told Cointelegraph that it has not conducted further research into TikTok’s programming code since then.

In an interview to justify the concerns expressed about data security and collection practices. A spokesperson for Tiktok shared a series of published resources addressing the subject of data collection practices and the claims against it.

TikTok stores user data in Singapore and the US, and uses access controls including encryption and security monitoring from the US-based security team. Access to this data falls under several control mechanisms, and the company asserts that user data is not accessible in China, as has been claimed by individuals like Carr of the FCC in the US.

The spokesperson also noted that the app’s clipboard access is controlled by the user, contrary to reports from the Financial Review in early July 2022 claiming that the functionality was automatically enabled by TikTok. active. This could potentially risk any secret messages or passwords being copied to the user’s clipboard.

Crypto users can rest easy as security experts agree that using or having TikTok on mobile does not directly put crypto wallets and exchange apps at risk of being compromised.

Bree Fowler has been monitoring TikTok data concerns as a senior privacy and cybersecurity expert for CNET for the past few years. He believes that TikTok users shouldn’t worry about using other apps alongside TikTok:

“State-sponsored hackers wouldn’t go after ordinary people in this way. I would be more worried about shady crypto exchanges and apps. It is much easier to just send phishing emails.”

Fowler warns users to use TikTok’s single-device opt-out feature as an extra precaution, to take into consideration the app’s privacy and cryptocurrency storage in offline wallets. (cold wallet).

Security expert Anna Larkina of the cybersecurity company Kaspersky said:

“The amount and type of data that TikTok collects about users imposes a corresponding degree of responsibility for their safety. There seems to be a need for maximum transparency about where exactly this data is stored, especially if we are talking about third parties, which is extremely difficult to track.”

Larkina notes that the sum of all this data contains a significant amount of information about an individual user. The potential consequences of a data leak cannot be taken lightly. The biggest threat highlighted by both experts is the possibility of user data being compromised and then used in coordinated phishing attacks. Given the amount of information stored by TikTok, including what apps are installed on your device, attackers can plan targeted attacks on individual users.

Larkina also warned users not to copy and paste login and password details on devices with TikTok installed and limit the app’s ability to collect data.

TikTok also becomes part of the US-China economic war

In essence, the data leak event of Tiktok is also related to political issues. The administration of former US President Donald Trump has banned TikTok and WeChat from operating in the US, this is seen as moves in the Trump administration’s battle with the Chinese government.

Fowler believes it is unclear whether the concerns raised over the past two years are warranted given the political motives at play. While most people associate TikTok with innocuous videos that appeal to young audiences, Fowler remains skeptical of the situation:

“On the surface, that doesn’t seem too personal or it won’t do the Chinese government any good. But the more information any group or person has about you, the more they can use that information to their own benefit, whether it’s data mining, cybercrime, or other nefarious purposes.” .

Given the huge reach of TikTok, the platform has also become a major advertising vehicle for the crypto space. Binance made headlines in June 2022 when they reached an ambassadorial agreement with Khaby Lame, the most followed influencer on TikTok with over 100 million followers to create focused educational content. to Web3.

The platform is also integrated with NFT collections and released exclusively through a number of influential content creators as of September 2021.

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