FaceTime alternative ToTok is a spy tool, purged from App Store

Posted:
in General Discussion
Popular social messaging app ToTok has been found to spy on its users -- and it likely was developed by the government of the United Arab Emirates to keep tabs on its citizens.

ToTok


Similar to WhatsApp and Skype, Emirati user-to-user messaging app, ToTok, is designed to connect people. However, American officials have found that the app has a far more sinister purpose.

Officials have found that the government of the United Arab Emirates have been using ToTok to track users. This includes, but is not limited to data mining text conversations, collection of physical locations through location services, and recording of any sound and audio used by the device.

The appeal of ToTok was that it functioned well in countries, like the United Arab Emirates, that have restricted other more popular messaging services. This is, in part, why ToTok had gained popularity in the Middle East, as many citizens are not able to use popular messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Originally available for both Android and Apple devices, ToTok had gained popularity in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, and more recently in North America. Chinese telecom giant Huawei even promoted the app in advertisements.

Both Apple and Google have removed the app from their app stores. Users who previously downloaded ToTok will still be able to use the app until they manually remove it from their phones.

Its user base is primarily based in the UAE. But, during its few months of availability, it became one of the most downloaded social apps in the United States prior to its removal from the App Store and Google Play.

According to the New York Times, it is unclear when intelligence officials first determined that ToTok was being used to track users and mine data. One person familiar with the situation had said that American officials have warned some allies internally about the dangers of ToTok
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    Big Brother governments will destroy the internet as we know it. 
    DAalsethcaladanianmuthuk_vanalingamCarnagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 33
    it would be so much better if Apple just built a backdoor into iOS.

    /s
    caladanianSolicornchipJaiOh81cy_starkmanCarnagerazorpitviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 33
    YUP! I just bought an app which was refunded for containing MALWARE on the APPLE APPSTORE! Yup that's right your mind controlled Apple zealots :wink: ! I refuse to use the now F'd out term "FanBoys" ... as I was once one, but now have graduated to fan-man!  Fan of Apple, but I can be realistic and critical of them also. This is one of those times. So yea, be aware, that no matter what Apple sells you, question it. Contrary to what Apple wants you to think, the APplesStore is NOT safe. It's not 100% malware, spy etc safe. I guess in Apple's defense, nothing much is. Anyhow just be cautious. Have a good Holiday.
    edited December 2019 ols1983
  • Reply 4 of 33
    Big Brother governments will destroy the internet as we know it. 
    But systematic Appstore network traffic analysis will prevent that.
    Eventually
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    So basically, if you’re in a country that won’t allow you to use the  app you want, then don’t use the one they give you. 
    muthuk_vanalingamlostkiwiJaiOh81narwhalolsCarnagerazorpitronnviclauyycspliff monkey
  • Reply 6 of 33
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,940member
    digitol said:
    YUP! I just bought an app which was refunded for containing MALWARE on the APPLE APPSTORE! Yup that's right your mind controlled Apple zealots :wink: ! I refuse to use the now F'd out term "FanBoys" ... as I was once one, but now have graduated to fan-man!  Fan of Apple, but I can be realistic and critical of them also. This is one of those times. So yea, be aware, that no matter what Apple sells you, question it. Contrary to what Apple wants you to think, the APplesStore is NOT safe. It's not 100% malware, spy etc safe. I guess in Apple's defense, nothing much is. Anyhow just be cautious. Have a good Holiday.
    Give it a rest.  No app is 100% secure.  I for one though have zero problem with Apple's implementation and their commitment to my privacy.  If something goes through, it will get purged.  Besides, if you really have that issue, then I hear Android is a place you'd be happier at.
    StrangeDaysnarwhaldewmerazorpitronnviclauyycwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 33
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,249member
    I wonder if WeChat needs further examination?
    cornchipmuthuk_vanalingamlostkiwinarwhalolsCarnageviclauyycwatto_cobraspace2001
  • Reply 8 of 33
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,897member
    hentaiboy said:
    I wonder if WeChat needs further examination?
    I definitely wonder about all these other social media apps. I really don’t think most of them are being investigated thoroughly enough.

    and also: 

    Chinese telecom giant Huawei even promoted the app in advertisements.


    🤙🏼👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🤦🏻‍♂️
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 33
    Middle Eastern governments and China spying on citizens... I'm shocked.  Kudos to Apple for discovering the issue and booting them out of the App Store. I'm not sure I understand how the Droidsheep wants to morph this into Apple's fault...
    ronnspliff monkeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 33
    sflocal said:
    digitol said:Contrary to what Apple wants you to think, the APplesStore is NOT safe. It's not 100% malware, spy etc safe. I guess in Apple's defense, nothing much is. Anyhow just be cautious. Have a good Holiday.
    Give it a rest.  No app is 100% secure. 

    -- Clearly you DID NOT read. See how much the apple fandom is blinding you? Now you looking a fool online in front of everyone. You really need introspection. Be well my friend. 
    edited December 2019
  • Reply 11 of 33
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,038member
    From the article:
     Officials have found that the government of the United Arab Emirates have been using ToTok to track users. This includes, but is not limited to data mining text conversations, collection of physical locations through location services, and recording of any sound and audio used by the device.”

    Isn’t that essentially what FB, Google, and Alexa all do to varying degrees?
    cy_starkmanwatto_cobra1983
  • Reply 12 of 33
    American officials?

    These be officials from the same political system that wants to make it law that all software and operating systems allow them to do this on everyone?

    FFS
    cornchipwatto_cobra1983
  • Reply 13 of 33
    Big Brother governments will destroy the internet as we know it. 
    But systematic Appstore network traffic analysis will prevent that.
    Eventually
    except where Apple does not do that analysis because the host government has made them provide direct access to their entire OS and communications applications for spying.
  • Reply 14 of 33

    So the only difference between ToTalk and Facebook is that one f's you up while the other makes a profit off you and then f's you up.


    One of my relatives lives in the far east and the iPhones she buys there don't have the FaceTime either.

    edited December 2019 razorpitcornchipwatto_cobra1983
  • Reply 15 of 33
    digitol said:
    YUP! I just bought an app which was refunded for containing MALWARE on the APPLE APPSTORE! Yup that's right your mind controlled Apple zealots :wink: ! I refuse to use the now F'd out term "FanBoys" ... as I was once one, but now have graduated to fan-man!  Fan of Apple, but I can be realistic and critical of them also. This is one of those times. So yea, be aware, that no matter what Apple sells you, question it. Contrary to what Apple wants you to think, the APplesStore is NOT safe. It's not 100% malware, spy etc safe. I guess in Apple's defense, nothing much is. Anyhow just be cautious. Have a good Holiday.
    Of course, it is not 100% safe, as any reasonable person can understand. Nothing in the world is 100% safe. But App Store may be 99% safe, compare to Google which maybe 50% safe. Do you want to deposit your valuables  in a locked safe or in a safe with no door at all? At least knowing there is a lock that can be picked is better knowing it stay barely.
    StrangeDaysronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 33
    digitol said:
    YUP! I just bought an app which was refunded for containing MALWARE on the APPLE APPSTORE! Yup that's right your mind controlled Apple zealots :wink: ! I refuse to use the now F'd out term "FanBoys" ... as I was once one, but now have graduated to fan-man!  Fan of Apple, but I can be realistic and critical of them also. This is one of those times. So yea, be aware, that no matter what Apple sells you, question it. Contrary to what Apple wants you to think, the APplesStore is NOT safe. It's not 100% malware, spy etc safe. I guess in Apple's defense, nothing much is. Anyhow just be cautious. Have a good Holiday.

    You realize that "Mal"ware is the most general term possible, covering all sorts of malicious and maligned software, so saying that your purchased app had malware is not saying much. What type of malware was it? What damage did you (potentially) suffer? Did you discover this yourself and request a refund, or was the refund issued to you and that's what drew your attention to the situation? What was the name of the app? Is there an article online discussing the incident? So many questions.

    Have a nice holiday, too. I hope Santa brings you a shiny new tinfoil hat. 
    dewmeStrangeDaysronn
  • Reply 17 of 33
    digitol said:
    YUP! I just bought an app which was refunded for containing MALWARE on the APPLE APPSTORE! Yup that's right your mind controlled Apple zealots :wink: ! I refuse to use the now F'd out term "FanBoys" ... as I was once one, but now have graduated to fan-man!  Fan of Apple, but I can be realistic and critical of them also. This is one of those times. So yea, be aware, that no matter what Apple sells you, question it. Contrary to what Apple wants you to think, the APplesStore is NOT safe. It's not 100% malware, spy etc safe. I guess in Apple's defense, nothing much is. Anyhow just be cautious. Have a good Holiday.
    It was American "intelligence officials" who discovered the issue, not Apple. Are you suggesting Apple employ intelligence officials to determine if each app they review is doing something nefarious? Not gonna happen.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 33
    Add WeChat and TikTok to the list of Trojan horse spy apps - still available to download and use.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 33
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,361member
    vukasika said:
    Middle Eastern governments and China spying on citizens... I'm shocked.  Kudos to Apple for discovering the issue and booting them out of the App Store. 
    Apparently neither Apple nor Google discovered it. The New York Times was the one who alerted both after US government sources had advised them while following a story, at least according to media reports. 
    muthuk_vanalingamspliff monkey
  • Reply 20 of 33
    Our (USA’s) allies in the Middle East are as bad as our enemies.
    viclauyyc
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