October is not only known for Halloween and spooky season, but is also known as Cyber Security month in the technology world. While Freddy Krueger’s glove might scare some, what truly scares me is the thought of my network being hacked, and going out of business.
It’s truly mind blowing how time has changed, evolved in everything we do today compared to earlier times. One of the most common and popular things as people we have picked up on is finding activities to stimulate us/entertain us on our downtime. And of course, the most common and easiest downtime activity for us today is right in the palm of our hands. We’re referring to our good old cellular phone! We have ample access to all sorts of media, info and apps to keep our minds busy with. The BIGGEST, downloadable app of ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS, would be TikTok.
If you are not familiar with TikTok, TikTok is a video-sharing app that allows users to post and share videos. The app was developed by ByteDance, a Chinese company based in Beijing. It was launched in 2016 and has developed immensely since then. In fact, TikTok has more than 500 million monthly active users (MAU) across the world, with about one-third of those MAUs coming from the United States.
The US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs have voiced concerns about TikTok's security. Specifically, they expressed concern over how apps like TikTok handle authentication and whether users' data is being collected without their knowledge or consent. In short, they want to know if it's secure. The FCC is also concerned about this issue, and they've asked for more information from TikTok on how it protects users' data.
The senators were especially interested in how the app works with children because many people use social media to communicate with friends and family members who live far away from them (e.g., across state borders). These apps can help them stay connected while making it easier for people who don't have much money or access to resources like computers or internet service providers at home or school.
From further research and investigation, in regards to this popular app, it has been found that TikTok could be used for spamming and accessing users' data. As you might have guessed, spam is a form of electronic junk mail sent in bulk to many recipients. It's usually unsolicited and unwanted. Spam can be used to deliver malware or viruses that might create havoc on your computer network and open the way for hackers to target your business with ransomware attacks. FCC Commissioner has also called for an investigation on TikTok as a cybersecurity threat. The app collects browser history, keystrokes, user data, and biometric identifiers. Besides that, it has also been reported to collect email contacts, addresses, locations, date of birth, potential credit card information. The list goes on! It’s a known fact that this platform had many reported data issues. Hopefully this should put things into better perspective as to why users should be very cautious with whom/what you are allowing access to on their phone and devices.
While TikTok is a major concern, we also have to be careful with all social media platforms. Majority of people use these platforms without the knowledge of cybersecurity. In October, let’s change the game, if you are subscribed within our services, or follow us on LinkedIn, take advantage of our free weekly tech tips and videos, and make sure that the only thing scary that you experience this October is the belly ache you may get from eating too much candy!!
Stay tuned for part 2 of our 3-part blog, as we go further in depth on this topic and highlight other Apps that you may be using, and expose hidden threats you may not know about.