On Sunday, the Himachal Pradesh Cyber Crime Police Station issued a warning against spam messages associated with “TikTok Pro”, a fake TikTok app that has appeared after the real TikTok app was banned by Indian govt. It is a malware app that can potentially damage the smartphone and steal personal information. The HP Cyber Crime Department, in its advisory, asked people not to click on any link in such malicious messages to download the app. The police said, “If in case you have received any message asking you to download the TikTok Pro app, we recommend you to ignore the same.”
BEWARE OF FAKE TIKTOK, AS PEOPLE START RECEIVING LINKS TO DOWNLOAD TIKTOK PRO— Himachal Pradesh Police (@himachalpolice) July 19, 2020
If in case you have received any message asking you to download the TikTok Pro app, we recommend you to ignore the same.
The HP state Cybercrime Police station Shimla has issued advisory.
Maharashtra Cyber Crime Department issued a warning for the same app on 8th July. Punjab Police issued a similar warning on 17th July as the residents of the state started to receive messages urging them to download the app. A user who received such message posted a screenshot of the same that read “Enjoy Tiktok Videos and also make Creative Videos again. Now TikTok is only Available in (TikTok Pro). So Download from now,” followed by the link.
Yes we received such massages yesterday pic.twitter.com/FkvkLyMYwb— Ajay Sharma🇮🇳 (@Ajaykumar062) July 19, 2020
The TikTok Pro malware app looks like the TikTok app and asks for permissions such as access to the camera, phone gallery, microphone, and more. With this app, hackers can steal users’ sensitive information from their smartphones.
How to detect a fake app?
Most of the smartphone users in India are not aware of the possible malware attacks and cybersecurity. It is tricky to spot a fake app. The easiest way to spot a fake app is to by checking its availability on the Google Play Store or App Store in case of iOS. If the app is not available on the official app store of the OS, it is better to avoid downloading it.
The users should not click on the app link in messages, WhatsApp forwards, emails or other sources like on social media, especially if they are shortened URLs. Always make sure that the source of the link is authentic. If you are doubtful about the source, go to the App store or developer’s website for an authentic link to the app or software.
India bans 59 Chinese Apps
On 29th June, the Home Ministry announced a ban on 59 Chinese Apps including TikTok, SHAREit, WeChat and many more. The government said that they had received several complaints regarding these apps. They alleged that several reports had suggested the misuse of these apps for stealing and transferring users’ data in an unauthorized manner. It is believed that the violent face-off between India and China in the Galwan valley further triggered the government to take strict action against entities originating from China. Tiktok has also been flagged several times for its vulgar, misleading, Hinduphonic and anti-India content.