Info-tech

TikTok may have exposed users' confidential information: Research

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 08, 2020 Published on January 08, 2020

File photo   -  REUTERS

A study undertaken by Check Point Research has uncovered multiple vulnerabilities in the mobile app, TikTok.

The study found that users, including teenagers and kids, use the app to save private (and sometimes very sensitive) videos of themselves and their loved ones.

The videos were found to be at risk of being leaked.

Spoofed SMS messages

The research also found that an attacker could send a spoofed SMS message to a user containing a malicious link. When the user clicked on the malicious link, the attacker was able to get a hold of the TikTok account and manipulate its content by deleting videos, uploading unauthorised videos, and making private or "hidden" videos public.

It was also found that Tiktok's subdomain - https://ads.tiktok.com - was vulnerable to XSS attacks, a type of attack in which malicious scripts are injected into otherwise benign and trusted websites. Check Point researchers leveraged this vulnerability to retrieve personal information saved on user accounts including private email addresses and birthdates.

They also said that it informed TikTok developers of the vulnerabilities exposed in this research and a fix was responsibly deployed to ensure its users can safely continue using the TikTok app.

“Data is pervasive but data breaches are becoming an epidemic, and our latest research shows that the most popular apps are still at risk,” said Oded Vanunu, Check Point’s Head of Product Vulnerability Research. “Social media applications are highly targeted for vulnerabilities as they provide a good source for private data and offer a good attack surface gate. Malicious actors are spending large amounts of money and putting in great effort to penetrate into such huge applications. Yet most users are under the assumption that they are protected by the app they are using.”

Luke Deshotels, PhD, TikTok Security Team said, “TikTok is committed to protecting user data. Like many organizations, we encourage responsible security researchers to privately disclose zero day vulnerabilities to us. Before public disclosure, CheckPoint agreed that all reported issues were patched in the latest version of our app."

Published on January 08, 2020
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