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Are additional security measures needed for TikTok/WeChat? (Includes interview) – Digital Journal


The U.S. government has taken the decision that TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores starting on September 21, 2020 (as the BBC reports). This follows concerns expressed about the connection of the companies providing these apps with the Chinese Communist Party and with the ability of the apps to collect data relating to U.S. citizens. The decision, taken by President Trump, is said to be for reasons of national security, according to The Guardian.

It is recommended by some analysts that while future downloads will be blocked additional security measures should be taken into consideration in order to guard privacy. for those who plan to continue to use the apps. In terms of what this might mean for the regular consumer, Mathew Newfield, CISO of Unisys outlines the best approach for Digital Journal readers.

What to do with TikTok?

According to Newfield: “When it comes to using TikTok securely, an end user needs to know that applications like TikTok use the data it has access to on their device as the currency since the app is free. People should never install applications like these on devices that are used for work or to conduct business, and need to understand that they are potentially giving the application the ability to collect data about them and to then utilize that data for its own means”.

However, many will seek to continue with the service. Here Newfield recommends “If you really want to utilize these platforms, the following is recommended: first, if possible, use a device that is dedicated to TikTok and only install the necessary security software. Do not provide the device with any personal information about yourself. Do not utilize the device for anything other than TikTok. While this may sound extreme, you will only risk losing the information you are already posting through the TikTok platform. Second, if you cannot use a dedicated device, only post videos you are comfortable with anyone seeing. Third, review your local security settings and remove any applications that could contain extremely important data such as banking applications.”

What about WeChat?

Newfield also has advice about WeChat, recommending: “WeChat is another application that should never be used for business. Currently, WeChat does not support end-to-end encryption and is subject to inflight data theft. Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, does not clearly explain its privacy policies nor does it report on privacy requests or violations like other social media platforms.”

Where people wish to continue using the service, Newfield says: “If you want to utilize the WeChat platform, the following is recommended: utilizing a significantly lengthy and complex password, never conducting business over the platform, updating the privacy settings and reviewing to ensure that they do not change regularly, and ensure that you completely sign out of the platform when you are not utilizing it.”





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