Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Tik Tok Application and Security Concerns

Sun 05 Mar 2023 | 05:50 PM
By Prof. Abdelhak Azouzi

The "Tik Tok" application is very popular among young people thanks to its viral lip-syncing videos that mainly focus on dance and music materials.

The well-known platform has recently announced the launch of a trial version of a revamped creator fund called the “Creativity Program,” which is designed to generate higher revenue and provide more opportunities for creators.

The program will also give creators access to an updated dashboard, with more insights into estimated revenue and video performance metrics and analytics.

Now, I wonder whether the use of the "Tik Tok" platform is safe in terms of security or not.

Whereas the consensus had earlier been that Tik Tok too difficult to asses, we recall the statement of former US President Trump when he announced his presidential plan, in which he would ban the use of the "Tik Tok" application in the United States, as the authorities suspect the possibility of espionage operations through it on behalf of Chinese intelligence.

These previous US presidential statements were followed by a similar statement from the European Commission banning the application of TikTok on the phones of its employees, for reasons related to information security.

And this indicates, of course, possible concerns about the Chinese application that allows sharing of many short video clips and dealing with the personal data of its users. The European Commission confirmed in the statement that the decision will apply to phones and work devices.

It added: "This measure aims to protect the Commission from threats related to information security and procedures that may be exploited in cyber attacks against its offices."

Similarly, under the pretext of data protection, the Canadian government banned the TikTok application a few days ago on all its phones and devices, and said that Canada's Chief Communications Officer "concluded that the application carries an unacceptable level of risks to privacy and security." 

The government warned that "TikTok's data collection methods allow wide access to the contents of the phone"; Relations between China and Canada have deteriorated sharply in recent years, especially after Ottawa arrested - at the request of the US judiciary - a senior official in Huawei in 2018, and China responded to the move by arresting two Canadian citizens

Last week, the Canadian Privacy Commissioner opened an investigation accusing the TikTok application of using the personal information of users.

Additionally, this week, the White House gave government agencies thirty days to ensure that there is no TikTok application on any of the federal government devices.

Government agencies, Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in a guidance note that they would be required to amend information technology contracts to ensure that contractors protect US data by stopping the use of TikTok on devices and systems used in their framework.

And if all these concerns about the application of “Tik Tok” are proven correct, then this falls within the framework of the current determinants of the quality of espionage and wars that have begun to change radically from what has been done and what the traditional chief strategists of wars, such as the ancient Chinese Sun Tzu or the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz, who likened war to a duel.

To cut a long story short, he compared war with a conflict between two duelists, and concluded that “war is an act of violence aimed at coercing the opponent to impose a certain will.”

Violence is the only means to impose the will on the opponent. Cyberattacks may go beyond the scourge of what we have known in the past. 

Definitely, it can cause massive casualties and losses and that is what happened in the fourth part of the Die Hard 4 series, also known as "Live Free or Die Hard" in North America, where we see policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) at war with a new type of cyber attacks that begins to backdoor into signals traffic, causing suffocating traffic before attacking the network of America's infrastructure, with the aim to cripple the country and the entire world as well.

Contributed by Ahmed Emam