Security experts say the Pinduoduo app can spy on users even … – Techaeris

Pinduoduo is one of the most popular apps in China, where users can purchase everything from groceries to electronics. Pinduoduo boasts more than 750 million users a month, and security experts claim the app can bypass user security measures and monitor their activity. Experts also claim the app can access other apps’ activity, check notifications, change settings, and read users’ private messages.

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By now, it should be common knowledge that most smartphone apps collect data as we use them. Some collect more data than we’d like them to, such as TikTok, but security experts say Pinduoduo is violating user privacy and data at a whole new level. A CNN investigation brought together a half dozen cybersecurity teams worldwide along with former and current employees of the company.

Experts confirmed that malware was present in the Pinduoduo app, which exploits vulnerabilities within the Android operating system. Former and current employees say these exploits were used to spy on users and competitors in order to boost sales.

“We haven’t seen a mainstream app like this trying to escalate their privileges to gain access to things that they’re not supposed to gain access to,” said Mikko Hyppönen, chief research officer at WithSecure, a Finnish cybersecurity firm.

“This is highly unusual, and it is pretty damning for Pinduoduo.”


Accusations like this have also plagued the Chinese app TikTok and its parent company ByteDance. TikTok has already been banned on many government devices, and some U.S. lawmakers are seeking to ban it from the United States altogether.

While it may not seem that the Pinduoduo app is of much consequence for users in the United States, the company does have a U.S.-based app called Temu which is the same only made for Western countries. It is important to note that Temu was not included in this investigation, so it may not exhibit the same malware issues. But both apps are owned and operated by PPD, whose roots are in China.

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