Is TikTok safe for your network? Safe for your children?

TikTok has been in the news recently for a variety of reasons. President Trump has even started the process to ban TikTok in the US.

Many assume this is just playing politics but is it?

Here are a few things to consider when you let TikTok on your SmartPhone or your network.

  1. TikTok collects an enormous amount of data about the device including geolocation data and other telemetric data. They know where you are, where you have been, likely who you have been with, and details about your phone. For example if it is rooted.
  2. All of the data related to your network, wifi access and passwords, mac address, router data, ip address, etc.
  3. TikTok sets up a proxy on the device it is installed on. The proxy has little or no authentication so it is completely vulnerable to abuse.
  4. The app collects a massive amount of logging data and then transmits that data to its Chinese masters.
  5. The logging is remotely controlled and can be changed without your knowledge.
  6. The app is set up to download, extract and execute new code without your permission or knowledge.
  7. They deliberately draw in users by creating false “likes”{ for the initial activity in order to “hook” them and keep them on the platform.
  8. TikTok encourages age “mixed” activities. Meaning 40 or 50 year old men, or women, with no legitimate relationship (essentially strangers) are engaging in activities with children without any responsible adult supervision. Do we really want a platform that lets child predators work with 9 year old children to produce “sexy” videos?
  9. The app allows direct messaging with children from unknown adults, which makes it an easy place for human/sex trafficking to proliferate.

We are all familiar of course with the idea that Social Media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter collect huge data warehouses full of information about us. It is in a way the “deal” we make that they get to monetize the data collected about us in exchange for providing a useful platform at no charge.

But there is a difference with TikTok.

TikTok is a China based platform. China already uses the data collected from their social media apps not just to sell merchandise, but to persecute, harass, restrict and even jail users based on their social media activities. We have all heard of China’s social scoring systems where even the ability to buy an airplane ticket is tied to your social media activities. Even worse, you may be denied access to services in China not based on what you ave done, but based on what your social media friends have done. China actively paints a giant Scarlet Letter on the associates of people that the Chinese government decides to persecute.

TikTok, or owners ByteDance, claim the Chinese government has no access to the massive troves of data collected by the app.

This is a nation actively persecuting and murdering Christians, Muslims, Tibetans and others for failing to worship the Communist Party properly. A nation that very recently was killing student protesters in Tiananmen Square. It is far-fetched to believe any business has the ability to turn away any data request by the Communist government.

Look at what the Chinese government has been doing to repress basic freedoms in Hong Kong. This is not a government that respects individual human rights.

TikTok’s intrusive data collection and backdoor network access is hardly new for a Chinese company. The recent Huawei scandal was an effort by China to gain at least theoretical control of world networks.

If you want to improve security in your network environment, lock out hackers, malware and unwanted applications we can help.

Teksys Networks provides enterprise level managed services to small, medium, large and government customers in the Brazos Valley and across Central Texas.

Below are a few links to articles about the dangers of TikTok

https://www.boredpanda.com/tik-tok-reverse-engineered-data-information-collecting/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2020/07/11/tiktok-seriously-dangerous-warning-delete-app-trump-ban/#7aa0a4fe2b0e

https://www.cnet.com/news/us-finds-huawei-has-backdoor-access-to-mobile-networks-globally-report-says/

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