Apple catches China-owned TikTok secretly spying on iPhone users

by Bryan Brammer · Jun 27th, 2020 3:30 pm

Last Updated Jun 29th, 2020 at 12:02 pm

While correcting an issue with its upcoming iOS 14 update, due out this fall, that allowed apps to secretly access the clipboard on user's devices, Apple discovered that one of the apps covertly accessing user data was popular Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok.

While running tests, security researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk caught TikTok abusing the clipboard feature on iPhones.

Despite TikTok's insistence that the issue with copying data was related to an outdated Google advertising software development kit (SDK) that's being displaced, it seems the social media platform is still abusing the clipboard.

Apple's new feature will warn users whenever an app reads the last thing copied to the clipboard.

TikTok reported that the clipboard issue is "triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior."

Bytedance, the platform's owner, said it has "already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion."


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