What you need to know
- ToTok is a popular chat app.
- It's been removed from the App Store by Apple.
- There are concerns that it is a spy tool used by the UAE.
Apple has removed the popular ToTok chat app from the App Store after a New York Times (via 9to5Mac) report said that the app was used by the United Arab Emirates as a spy tool. A classified intelligence assessment also raised concerns.
ToTok might not be a household name yet but lat week it was able to become one of the most downloaded social apps in the United States. However, it has been revealed that it was phoning home to the UAE government. With sensitive data also shared.
It's worth noting that the app does not offer end-to-end encryption so anyone with access to the data would be able to read anything and everything. Essentially, no messages sent via ToTok were safe from being read. And the report notes that the company behind ToTok is a front for the UAE government.
But it seems none of this is news to the US intelligence services who have already warned allies that they shouldn't use the app over fears that it isn't secure.
If you do or have used ToTok, I'd suggest removing it from your devices as soon as possible.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.