Technology

TikTok caught spying on iPhone users in India and around the world

TikTok claimed in April that it would stop the "invasive practice," but users who tried Apple's upcoming iOS 14 saw it copying the clipboard's features.

Users currently testing the beta of the upcoming iOS 14 iPhone software have found that TikTok is recording what they are typing on their phones, which can range from non-confidential information to passwords or even confidential emails.

The practice is expected to affect iPhone users with TikTok accounts in India and worldwide. The final version of iOS 14 is expected to launch later this year.

According to a Forbes article, the Chinese-origin TikTok is not the only application that could exploit this vulnerability, but it is the most prominent of all the applications caught spying on users in this way. The article adds that TikTok had said it would stop the “invasive practice” in April, but still continues to do so.

The problem

The problem starts with the iOS clipboard function. The function helps the user to copy text or image and paste it in another application. The clipboard can also be used to copy and paste text and images from one Apple device to another Apple device, such as from an iPhone to a Mac or iPad.

However, due to the way the Apple software was designed, any application was able to record all the text and images that were copied using the clipboard function. There would be no warning or notice to the user that a particular application is recording information that the user was copying through the clipboard function.

A researchers blog mentioned in the Forbes article said the user’s location can be recorded by an application that is monitoring the clipboard function used by an unintentional user to copy and paste an image.

Since Apple users also use the clipboard function to copy and paste information between their Apple devices, the Forbes article states that, for example, if TikTok is active on an iPhone, it can “read anything and everything it copies on another device: Passwords, work documents, confidential emails, financial information. ”

Apple’s solution

Now, however, Apple has released a beta version of the upcoming iOS 14 software. The beta version alerts a user every time an application copies what the user has pasted to the clipboard.

A verified Twitter user, Jeremy Burge, an emoji historian, testing the beta version of iOS 14, posted a video of how the new operating system alerts him every time TikTok copies something he’s writing to his clipboard.

TikTok has commented on the matter: The Forbes article quotes the company saying the problem “is triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive and unwanted behavior”, and that “it has already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store that eliminates the antispam function to eliminate any possible confusion “.

It is still unknown if the same problem persists for Android users, according to the Forbes article.

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