THE Apple removed messaging app ToTok from the App Store after an investigation of the New York Times concluded that the application also functioned as a spying tool used by the US government United Arab Emirates to "mass inspect their citizens".
ToTok may not yet be a household name (especially among Brazilian users), but last week it joined the list of the most downloaded apps in the United States in the “Social Networking” category.
According to the publication of NYT (which was assisted by US authorities), the app was being used to extract data from users' contact lists and their locations to provide them with a “localized weather forecast”.
As for app security issues, another problem: ToTok does not offer end-to-end encryption, so anyone with access to the software data could access (and read) messages exchanged between users on the platform.
A Middle Eastern digital security expert, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss powerful hacking tools, said senior UAE officials told him that ToTok was really an application designed to track their citizens in the UAE and other countries.
It is worth noting that DarkMatter is just a façade for a section of the UAE government and is even being investigated by the FBI for possible cyber crimes.
Although the complaint itself has recently surfaced, it seems that none of this is new to US intelligence services, as the FBI has already issued a security alert to other countries about the use of the app and the possibility that it is being used. Used for espionage.
Whatever the purpose of the Emirati government with ToTok, Apple did well to remove it from the App Store before another (even bigger) problem arose; The software has already been removed even from the Brazilian store.