TikTok and 50 other iPhone apps ‘spying’ on you, cyber-experts warn
TIKTOK has been accused of ‘spying’ on Apple users along with a host of other popular apps.
Reports of this mass snooping started after a new beta iOS 14 feature was created to notify users whenever an app tries to access their clipboard.
The iOS clipboard is an internal structure that lets you temporarily copy data so you can then paste it into a different location.
Only one piece of data can be stored on the clipboard at any one time.
This may seem fine if the data you’re copying is not that important but if you’re copying bank account details or a password then you probably don’t want other apps accessing this information.
Researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk found claimed to find 56 apps accessing data from clipboards for no apparent reason.
The iOS apps accussed of reading users’ clipboard data
All these apps reportedly accessed clipboards with no clear reason for doing so…
- ABC News — com.abcnews.ABCNews
- Al Jazeera English — ajenglishiphone
- CBC News — ca.cbc.CBCNews
- CBS News — com.H443NM7F8H.CBSNews
- CNBC — com.nbcuni.cnbc.cnbcrtipad
- Fox News — com.foxnews.foxnews
- News Break — com.particlenews.newsbreak
- New York Times — com.nytimes.NYTimes
- NPR — org.npr.nprnews
- ntv Nachrichten — de.n-tv.n-tvmobil
- Reuters — com.thomsonreuters.Reuters
- Russia Today — com.rt.RTNewsEnglish
- Stern Nachrichten — de.grunerundjahr.sternneu
- The Economist — com.economist.lamarr
- The Huffington Post — com.huffingtonpost.HuffingtonPost
- The Wall Street Journal — com.dowjones.WSJ.ipad
- Vice News — com.vice.news.VICE-News
- TikTok — com.zhiliaoapp.musically
- ToTalk — totalk.gofeiyu.com
- Tok — com.SimpleDate.Tok
- Truecaller — com.truesoftware.TrueCallerOther
- Viber — com.viber
- Weibo — com.sina.weibo
- Zoosk — com.zoosk.Zoosk
- 10% Happier: Meditation —com.changecollective.tenpercenthappier
- 5-0 Radio Police Scanner — com.smartestapple.50radiofree
- Accuweather — com.yourcompany.TestWithCustomTabs
- AliExpress Shopping App — com.alibaba.iAliexpress
- Bed Bath & Beyond — com.digby.bedbathbeyond
- Dazn — com.dazn.theApp
- Hotels.com — com.hotels.HotelsNearMe
- Hotel Tonight — com.hoteltonight.prod
- Overstock — com.overstock.app
- Pigment – Adult Coloring Book — com.pixite.pigment
- Recolor Coloring Book to Color — com.sumoing.ReColor
- Sky Ticket — de.sky.skyonline
- The Weather Network — com.theweathernetwork.weathereyeiphone
- 8 Ball Pool — com.miniclip.8ballpoolmult
- AMAZE!!! — com.amaze.game
- Bejeweled — com.ea.ios.bejeweledskies
- Block Puzzle —Game.BlockPuzzle
- Classic Bejeweled — com.popcap.ios.Bej3
- Classic Bejeweled HD —com.popcap.ios.Bej3HD
- FlipTheGun — com.playgendary.flipgun
- Fruit Ninja — com.halfbrick.FruitNinjaLite
- Golfmasters — com.playgendary.sportmasterstwo
- Letter Soup — com.candywriter.apollo7
- Love Nikki — com.elex.nikki
- My Emma — com.crazylabs.myemma
- Plants vs. Zombies Heroes — com.ea.ios.pvzheroes
- Pooking – Billiards City — com.pool.club.billiards.city
- PUBG Mobile — com.tencent.ig
- Tomb of the Mask — com.happymagenta.fromcore
- Tomb of the Mask: Color — com.happymagenta.totm2
- Total Party Kill — com.adventureislands.totalpartykill
- Watermarbling — com.hydro.dipping
10% Happier: Meditation and Hotel Tonight have reportedly stopped this behaviour.
The apps were said to be able to access the clipboards of the device they were being used on and other connected devices.
Mysk told ArsTechnica: “It’s very, very dangerous. These apps are reading clipboards, and there’s no reason to do this.
“An app that doesn’t have a text field to enter text has no reason to read clipboard text.”
TitTok justified its actions by saying it was only trying to prevent spam.
It later said it would to remove this feature.
There doesn’t seem to be any malicious reasons as to why these apps want to access clipboard data.
However, the researchers pointed out that if there is no reason to access the data then why are they doing it in the first place.
The public version of iOS 14 is not yet available but if it does end up coming with this feature then a lot of apps will be under scrutiny.
TIKTOK: A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE WORLD’S MOST DOWNLOADED APP
TikTok lets users create and share short videos with music and camera effects.
It is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, founded by the entrepreneur Zhang Yiming.
The $75 billion conglomerate acquired the Musical.ly app in 2017 and merged it with TikTok, bringing millions of new users.
It is the world’s most downloaded iPhone app – with nearly 800 million downloads across the globe, according to data from mobile research firm Sensor Tower.
Facebook has taken notice of TikTok’s rising popularity, and launched a competitor app called Lasso in November last year.
Most read in Phones & Gadgets
In other news, Android users have been warned to delete a rogue app called SnapTube.
Scammers are using Google Alerts to send out links to malware.
And, Kim Kardashian West has entered an exclusive deal with Spotify to produce and host a new podcast.
Do you use TikTok? Let us know in the comments…
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