University of Wisconsin–Madison
TikTok videos of ice cream, Howie Mandel, laughing, and doing a flip

Have you updated TikTok lately?

If you have TikTok installed on your mobile device but haven’t updated it since December 15, 2019, please do so right away. 

TikTok is a popular social media app for sharing short, typically 15 seconds or less, videos. It was the 3rd most downloaded non-game app of 2019, according to Business Insider, with more than 1.5 billion downloads. According to a New York Times article published on Jan. 8, 2020, TikTok contained major security flaws, found by the Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point. “TikTok learned about the conclusions of Check Point’s research on Nov. 20 and said it had fixed all of the vulnerabilities by Dec. 15.

The security flaws allow attackers to:

  • Access TikTok accounts and manipulate their content
  • Delete videos
  • Upload unauthorized videos
  • Make private “hidden” videos public
  • Reveal personal information saved on the account such as private email addresses

This news follows a January 4 report that the “Department of Defense advised military personnel to remove the Chinese-owned social media application from government-issued and personal smartphones” amidst security concerns.

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