A Chinese Social Media App Asks for Your iPhone’s Password

Chinese social media, chinese, social, media, social media, tiktok

TikTok, the Chinese social media app, is in the news again for triggering the security alarm as it requests the passwords of iPhone users upon launch.

  • Reports suggest that the issue isn’t new, but it has become more prominent lately as more users report it.
  • Some users found workarounds, while others faced persistent problems and are waiting for an official fix.

TikTok had the US population baffled and alarmed as the app requested their iPhone password upon launch.

For the past couple of years, the US has kept a watchful eye on TikTok, trying to ban it due to national security concerns. Besides the back-and-forth between the government and the company, at the end of 2022, TikTok was caught with its hand in the cookie jar, spying on journalists. These facts, combined with who owns TikTok (*cough* the Chinese *cough*), had everyone jumpy whenever something suspicious happened with the social media app. Even if it was all just an accident. Always controversial, aren’t we, TikTok?

So, it comes as no surprise that when, suddenly, millions of American iPhone users, including TikTokers, were met with a prompt requesting their devices’ passwords, alarm bells started to ring.

Tsk Tsk Tsk, always so distrustful, dear America. If you are so uncomfortable why keep using the Chinese video-sharing app? But I digress.

From the looks of things, it’s not a new issue with TikTok. But it ramped up in the past month with more users reporting the issue. Some managed to circumvent the prompt by finding a workaround. Others are experiencing persistent problems, so they are forced to wait for an official fix.

As far as TikTok is concerned, a spokesperson told The New York Post, “The iOS passcode prompt was a bug resulting from an update we’ve begun to introduce in the US in partnership with our US security partner.” And they reassured the public that neither they nor their security partner accessed or collected user passcodes.

There are about 150 million TikTok users in the US and about 136 million iPhone users. The Venn diagram of iPhone users who also use TikTok is almost a circle at this point. No wonder everyone panicked about a Chinese company potentially accessing the devices.

Whether the US has a point in treating TikTok like the Boogeyman of the 21st century is debatable. But that’s politics and this is cybersecurity. As a general rule of thumb, don’t go answering any and every prompt an app gives you, especially if you didn’t set it up that way. You would be opening yourself up for cyberattacks on the off chance that it was malicious.

We don’t live in a world where we can afford cyber negligence anymore.

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