Apple catches TikTok spying on millions of iPhone users

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Once the new operating system launches, users will be warned every time an application reads the latest copy on the clipboard.

The company Apple has fixed a serious problem in iOS 14, coming soon, where applications can secretly access the clipboard on users’ devices. Once the new operating system launches, users will be warned every time an application reads the latest copied to the clipboard, this is more than a theoretical risk for users, as countless applications are already caught abusing their privacy in this way.

Given the security concerns raised about the app, TikTok owner Bytedance explained that the issue was related to using an outdated Google Advertising SDK that was being replaced, so with the release of the new warning from the Clipboard In the beta version of iOS 14, TikTok seems to have been caught abusing the clipboard in quite a remarkable way. So it appears that TikTok didn’t stop this invasive practice in April as promised after all.

According to TikTok, the problem is now “triggered by a function designed to identify repetitive and unwanted behavior”, and he told me that “he has already submitted an updated version of the application to the App Store removing the antispam function to eliminate any possible confusion ” In other words: we have been caught doing something we shouldn’t have, we have come up with a solution.

TikTok explained that the platform “is committed to protecting the privacy of users and being transparent about how our application works.” No comment on it. TikTok added that “it hopes to welcome external experts to our Transparency Center later this year.” The company insisted that it was not their problem and was related to an outdated library in their application. “The clipboard access problems appeared due to a third-party SDK, in our case an earlier version of the Google Ads SDK, so we do not have access to the information through this. We are in the update process so that the Third-party SDK no longer has access, “Bytedance said.

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Now, Apple’s welcome iOS 14 security and privacy changes have surprised them red-handed, still doing something they shouldn’t. Something they said was fixed. TikTok is not alone: ​​Other applications will now need to change access to the clipboard deliberately or inadvertently. But TikTok is the highest-profile and most totemic of trapped apps, given its previous coverage and broader issues.

The most serious problem with this vulnerability is the universal functionality of Apple’s clipboard, which means that anything that is copied on Mac or iPad can be read by the iPhone, and vice versa. So if TikTok is active on your phone while you work, the app can basically read anything and everything you copy on another device: passwords, work documents, confidential emails, financial information. Anything.

Earlier this year, when TikTok was first exposed, security researchers acknowledged that there was no way of knowing what the app might be doing with user data, and its abuse was lost in combination with many others. Now it feels different.

iOS users can relax, knowing that Apple’s latest protection will force TikTok to make the switch, which in itself shows how critical this solution has been. However, for Android users, it is still unknown if this is also a problem for them.

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