The video-sharing service TikTok has confirmed that it’s now fixed a vulnerability that allowed hackers to manipulate its content, upload or delete videos without authorizations, and steal users’ private information via malicious links sent through SMS.
The vulnerability was first exposed by Check Point Research, a cybersecurity firm from the US. Its team found several loopholes that a potential hacker could exploit to gain total control over accounts on TikTok.
This incident also happens at a time when the Chinese app was forced to sell the majority stake so that it could continue to operate in the US – one of its biggest markets at the moment. The deal is expected to bring TikTok’s parent company ByteDance $10 Billion if it does happen. However, the economic tension between the US and China has left TikTok is caught in a bad spot.
The US government had reportedly said that the app could be a security threat as it could easily provide users’ data to Chinese authorities. TikTok, though, had denied this statement, saying that it was ‘meritless.’
While the US is concerned about the potential security threats that TikTok could pose, India, on the other hand, has been actively requesting the video-sharing app for user information. A transparency report published by TikTok recently showed that India was the country with the highest number of user information requests in the first half of 2019. Out of 107 requests made, 99 were legal requests, and 8 were considered emergency requests.
The South Asian country is also in the first place in terms of requests sent to TikTok to remove content from the platform. Eleven of such instances were recorded between January and June 2019. The US, meanwhile, came in second with a total of 6 content moderation requests.
TikTok is massively popular in India at the moment, but with the recent breach, one has to question if the app is truly safe for users, many of whom are teenagers or young adults.