Apps

TikTok security questioned as fake Coronavirus videos spread

Hackers could spread misinformation via WHO’s official account

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TikTok is one of the most widely used apps across the world today. Backed by Chinese giant Bytedance, the app poses serious competition to Facebook-owned Instagram. However, the platform has been mired in controversy over privacy issues and now a report alleges it’s compromised and can help spread misinformation about Coronavirus.

Developers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry have shared a post detailing how TikTok relies on an unsecured path to deliver content to your phone. In simpler terms, there’s a vulnerability in the way content is delivered to your phone from TikTok’s base server.

HTTP is a standard protocol that’s the backbone of modern internet for data transfer from the origin (TikTok server) to a source (your phone). But, it’s not secure. For ensured privacy, an encrypted protocol is used — HTTPS. The “s” stands for secure.

The developers said TikTok’s CDN (Content Delivery Network), a complex practice that ensures data gets delivered to you faster, relies on HTTP and not HTTPS. It’s like a middleman between the base server and your phone. The problem is, data from the CDN isn’t secure when it gets delivered to you.

Hence, man-in-the-middle attacks are possible. Any hacker can exploit this insecure path and push content they want you to see. To demonstrate an example, the developers injected fake Coronavirus videos into the World Health Organization’s TikTok account, making it look like official communication. The same trick also worked for the Red Cross account.

The developers often called White hat hackers had no intention of causing harm and alerted the platform about its weakness. They said, “we directed the app to our fake server. Because it impersonates TikTok servers, the app cannot tell that it is communicating with a fake server. Thus, it will blindly consume any content downloaded from it.”

The same trick did not work on apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Simply because they rely on HTTPS protocol for data transfer.

Apps

Top iOS 15 Features to look out for

FaceTime for Android, anyone?

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The next version of iOS rolls out this fall. There are new features such as FaceTime for Android, new Memojis, rebranded Safari and Messages app, personal identification card compatibility for Wallet, and more.

But in this video, we rounded up our Top 10 iOS 15 Features you should look out for.

Watch the whole video by clicking here.

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Apps

Voilà AI Artist turns your selfies into 3D cartoons, caricatures

And many more artistic renditions!

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Voilà AI Artist

From FaceApp to Zepeto, plenty of avatars from these apps proliferated social media platforms. Most recently, the Internet went crazy with cute avatars once more. You probably noticed how people have been posting a 3D cartoon version of themselves, akin to a Disney character. It’s all thanks to Voilà AI Artist — a photo-editing app using artificial intelligence to turn your photos into artistic renditions.

Get yourself painted as a Renaissance painting.

Voilà AI Artist

Have your selfies transformed into a 3D cartoon from an animated movie.

Turn your photos into a 2D cartoon…

Voilà AI Artist

… or even have your face drawn as a caricature.

Voilà AI Artist

Voilà AI Artist is developed by WeImagine.AI., a Canada-based team of creators and developers. The app is free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store. If you’re concerned about the app’s privacy policy, read it here.

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The US revokes Trump’s executive order that banned TikTok

A level-playing field for everyone

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that sets criteria for the government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries. It’s specifically meant for apps like TikTok and WeChat, which President Trump banned.

It should use an “evidence-based approach” to see if they pose a risk to US national security, said Biden. If apps are found violating fundamental laws, a ban can be imposed. The task of identifying threats has been given to the US Commerce Department.

Trump’s executive order particularly targeted TikTok and WeChat. Instead, Biden is opting for a level-playing field for everyone. Biden shares the same concerns as Trump, but their approach is vastly different.

Under the previous administration, TikTok remained in a precarious position as Trump sought to ban the app unless it sold to an American company. A proposal was produced that would have seen Oracle and Walmart owning a US entity of the service and taking responsibility for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation.

But there were numerous legal challenges, and before they could be ironed out, Trump lost the election. The Biden administration’s new executive order does not affect those negotiations, which are a separate process. The order also calls upon federal agencies to develop recommendations – for future executive actions or legislation — on how to protect the data of US citizens.

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