TikTok has denied claims that hackers have managed to steal over two billion vulnerable people Database records, including user data and platform source code.
Rumors of the hack came from a post on an online hacking forum where a user named AgainstTheWest claimed to have used TikTok server vulnerability to gaining access to gigabytes of data.
However, TikTok says it has found “no evidence of a security breach” and that records have been scraped from public sources. Analysis of leaked files by cybersecurity experts seems to confirm this version of the story.
TikTok, owned and operated by the Chinese company ByteDance, has been in the spotlight since it gained prominence in Western markets in 2019. Today, the video platform in shortened format more attention to the user than Facebook and Instagram combined, and the app was downloaded more than any other in each of the last five quarters.
In 2020, former US President Donald Trump made a decision to block the platform he saw as a threat to national security. Although the ban never came into force, it was for the sake of relief Privacy and for security reasons, ByteDance agreed transfer the data related to US-based TikTok users to servers operated by Oracle.
A US software company is also in the process of auditing the platform’s recommendation algorithms to ensure that they are not manipulated for political purposes by the Communist Party of China (CCP), which has traditionally exercised a significant level of control over Chinese-based corporations.
Regardless of these security mechanisms, rumors of large-scale data breaches will refocus on data management practices on the platform.
But TikTok says the data published online was not released due to weaknesses in its security posture and does not relate to the source code being actively deployed in the platform’s backend.
“We have confirmed that the data samples in question are publicly available and do not result from any compromise of TikTok’s systems, networks or databases,” the company said in a statement.
“We do not believe users need to take any proactive action, and we remain committed to the safety of our global community.”