The European Commission is banning its employees from using TikTok on their work phones. There will be security concerns about the application, meaning the cyber security of 30,000 government employees is at risk. Security firms are calling on companies to warn their employees about these risks: data could disappear to China.
Paul Verhagen, senior technology expert at The Hack Center for Strategic Studies, confirms the major concerns surrounding the popular app’s cybersecurity. ‘I don’t know if it’s smart or if everyone should get rid of it, but there are serious safety concerns,’ says Verhagen. “For example, is TikTok a vector for Chinese malware? Additionally, there is a risk to privacy and intelligence.’
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According to Verhagen, it is very possible that data from employees of SMEs will go to China, although there are clear signs of this. ‘But the concern is really about privacy. Trade secrets can be leaked, and the Chinese have been looking for ways to bring in Western technology for some time.’
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It is not yet publicly known whether the Chinese have already succeeded in obtaining data from the European Commission via TikTok, although Verhagen dares that the intelligence services may know more. ‘I do not know.’
This stuff seems to have been alive in America for a while and is just now blowing up in Europe. But not surprisingly, argues Verhagen. “It comes from geopolitics,” he says. “Because the U.S. has decided that China is their strategic competitor, and they want to get behind the curve when it comes to technology.”
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He insists that a year or two ago, the Americans wanted to sell TikTok to an American company if they wanted to continue operating in the US. ‘You see the House of Representatives is thinking about it, the United Kingdom, you name it. And then it’s not just companies banning TikTok, but citizens as well.
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