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Hackers claim they have hacked TikTok

Patrick Devaney

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TikTok has been at the eye of a storm recently as politicians have been criticizing its ties to the Chinese government. Privacy is at the heart of this matter, which means this latest story will cause headaches for those at TikTok headquarters as a hacker group called “AgainstTheWest” has claimed that it has stolen user data from TikTok’s servers. TikTok has denied that a breach of sensitive data has taken place, so we are going to examine the story in a little more detail to help you understand what is going on.

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Bleeping Computer reports that the hacker group has shared images of a database it claims to have hacked, claiming that the database holds over 2 billion records and almost 800GB worth of user data.

Hackers claim they have hacked TikTok

TikTok denies that this breach has taken place, however, with a spokesperson telling The Verge:

“We have confirmed that the data samples in question are all publicly accessible and are not due to any compromise of TikTok systems, networks, or databases. We have confirmed that the data samples in question are all publicly accessible and are not due to any compromise of TikTok systems, networks, or databases.”

According to the Bleeping Computer report, it is highly likely that the database being showcased by the hackers has created a third-party data scraper and merely contains publicly available information that has been pulled together on an industrial scale. The AgainstTheWest group has then accessed it and is trying to leverage it to hurt TikTok.

Interestingly, according to cybersecurity researcher CyberKnow, the name AgainstTheWest is easily misunderstood. Rather than being a group that is against the west, the title actually refers to who the group targets. They target entities that they believe to be against the west, hence this action against the ties between TikTok and the Chinese government, which Western politicians have been railing against.

It appears then that the information being shared by the hacker group does not represent data that isn’t already publicly available on the internet and, for now at least, it looks like TikTok hasn’t been hacked. However, the move does indicate that there has been some sort of internal system breakdown, which has caused certain aspects of user data to leak onto the internet. This means it is highly likely that TikTok will have to take action to plug the leak.

In other TikTok news, the platform has banned political ads in the run-up to the upcoming Us elections.

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