TikTok Fixes Cybersecurity Flaws That Could Have Allowed Hackers to Upload, Delete Videos
Following the disclosure of several security issues, TikTok issued a patch to ensure that user privacy was protected.
- By Haley Samsel
- Jan 09, 2020
After a team of Israeli cybersecurity researchers discovered a number of security issues with the popular video app TikTok, the company has taken steps to fix the cybersecurity flaws and ensure that hackers are not able to access personal user information.
The researchers, from Check Point Research, published a report on Wednesday that demonstrated how hackers could upload or delete videos off of user accounts and access personal user information, such as email addresses and birthdays. Most shocking was the fact that the researchers were able to manipulate the links sent to users by text when they signed up for a TikTok account.
Once the user clicked on the link, hackers would be able to control the account, NBC News reported.
“Check Point researchers learned that a hacker can force a TikTok user onto a web server controlled by the hacker, making it possible for the attacker to send unwanted requests on behalf of the user," the research team wrote in a press release.
There was no indication that a hacker took advantage of the flaws before the researchers notified TikTok of the issues in November.
“Check Point Research informed TikTok developers about the vulnerabilities exposed in this research and a solution was responsibly deployed to ensure its users can safely continue using the TikTok app,” the firm wrote.
In response to the report, Luke Deshotels, who works for TikTok’s security team, said in a statement provided to CheckPoint that TikTok encourages researchers to privately disclose vulnerabilities to the company so that they can be fixed before the flaws are public.
“Before public disclosure, CheckPoint agreed that all reported issues were patched in the latest version of our app,” Deshotels said. “We hope that this successful resolution will encourage future collaboration with security researchers.”
TikTok has faced frequent scrutiny from security experts and lawmakers over the past year who are concerned over the app’s Chinese ownership. ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, has been accused of censoring content considered offensive to China and collecting user data that can then be shared with the government.
The Department of Commerce is currently conducting a national security review of ByteDance’s purchase of American app Musical.ly, TikTok’s precursor. In addition, the app paid a multi-million dollar fine in 2019 to settle accusations that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting personal information about kids without requiring parental consent.
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.