Technology

TikTok and 53 Other iOS Apps are Spying Your Data

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TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media has been a phenomenon. There are at least 800 million users globally and the number keeps rising. Amid its popularity, TikTok accesses some of Apple users’ most private data, which can include passwords. Another 53 apps identified in March are still doing this practice.

This finding has been confirmed by researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk. On their blog post, they mentioned that these apps are quietly reading users’ clipboard every time the apps are opened. The clipboard is a feature where all the text copied or cut is stored. These apps’ accesses can be dangerous, as user sometimes paste their passwords, messages, and cryptocurrency wallet addresses. It is not clear yet the reason for doing so.

Finding on iOS 14

Alongside the developer beta release of iOS 14, this security concern regains attention. Apple added a novel feature providing a banner warning every time an app reads clipboard contents. Users are appreciating this, exposing apps engaged in this practice and how frequently they do it.

A YouTube video, gaining more than 100 thousand views has demonstrated this finding. When users open an app with this access, a pop-up message on top of the screen will give notification. Check out the video below.

Among these apps, TikTok gains more attention. A Twitter thread revealed that the apps are reading clipboard data aggressively, unlike any other apps. On the thread, the user mentioned that TikTok is pasting the data every 1-3 keystrokes.

If you have an iOS 14 beta installed on your phone, you can reproduce this finding. For example, you can copy some text from a website. Then, open TikTok and start typing in any text field. A notification will warn you every time an app “pastes” data from your clipboard.

Earlier in March, TikTok said it would remove the clipboard-access algorithm in a few weeks. In fact, after more than three months, the app is still spying users’ clipboard data.

List of Apps Spying User’s Clipboard Data

Here’s a list of the other 53 apps:

News

  • 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

Games

  • 8 Ball Pool™ — com.miniclip.8ballpoolmult
  • AMAZE!!! com.amaze.game
  • Bejeweled com.ea.ios.bejeweledskies
  • Block PuzzleGame.BlockPuzzle
  • Classic Bejeweled com.popcap.ios.Bej3
  • Classic Bejeweled HDcom.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

Social Networking

  • 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

Other

  • 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

 

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