TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular apps among people of all ages and backgrounds.
Is it safe? Can TikTok have viruses and spyware?
When it comes to spyware and viruses on TikTok and knowing what to avoid, you first have to understand what it is:
TikTok and Viruses Explained:
TikTok is not known to be a site that gives users viruses. This is because TikTok will always warn users about clicking an external link. A warning will pop up when you attempt to click a link listed on their site that could lead somewhere unsafe.
Table of Contents
Has TikTok Been Known To Give People A Virus?
One of the biggest concerns about using a popular social media platform like TikTok is getting a virus.
A virus can affect your devices which include cellphones, desktops, and laptop computers. Most viruses aim to destroy your device’s data while leaving behind a trail that can track personal information.
This is often done by clicking on unknown links or accepting messages from people who are not in your social circle.
Does TikTok have a Popular History of Viruses?
There is very little information showing that people have contracted a virus by using TikTok.
However, that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen. It just means a large number of users have not been affected.
Most people who likely get a virus from sites like TikTok have either clicked a link messaged to them or clicked one on a personal page. Luckily, TikTok does warn you about clicking before making either of these mistakes.
When clicking a link, you will be taken first to a secure TikTok page warning you that you are about to leave the platform and that you should only click on links from trusted people. TikTok’s warning could account for the lack of viruses through their site.
Is TikTok using Spyware to Steal your Personal Information?
The simple answer is no.
This doesn’t mean that your information isn’t being stored, but remember that using apps and sites like TikTok usually comes with a Terms of Service agreement (TOS). Those ToS agreements pop up when using the site, and most users will click “I agree” or “Agree and Continue” without actually reading the agreement.
Buried deep in the terms and services of TikTok, you will see that they do store a bit of your information. However, this information is usually used to help personalize your TikTok experience. Have you ever done an online search for cupcakes and then are shown cupcake recipe videos on TikTok?
This kind of user-targeted content filtering is one of the ways that TikTok uses the information you agree to give them. This is used to help tailor your “For You” page.
As it stands right now, there is no evidence that TikTok is using any of this information for anything nefarious. So, while there is a lot of buzz around rumors that you’re being spied on, there isn’t anything to back it up.
Is TikTok Safe To Use?
In regards to cybersecurity, TikTok is absolutely safe to use.
Even experts say that there is no evidence that TikTok will make you more vulnerable than any other social media platform. All sites like Facebook and Twitter will come with a small amount of risk. If you want to avoid any risk at all, your best bet would be to avoid social media altogether.
As that is unrealistic, remember that you can have some control over the information you provide. Cookies, for example, are like tracking little footprints that you leave when you surf the internet.
Stay Safe and Smart:
When keeping your data and personal information safe on TikTok, you just have to be smart about it.
DO NOT click links or accept messages from people who you do not trust. The most risk you will find will come from other users and not the platform itself. So, exercising a reasonable amount of caution is the best way to ensure that TikTok will remain safe for you.
It is also important to note that your information isn’t the only vulnerable thing on TikTok. Research has shown that online stalkers or predators will gather the information you provide, such as your profile picture, address, location, any background information in your videos, etc.
Make sure to never give away personal information, even if you try to be fun and interesting in your videos. Do not list anything on your profile that could give away your location or full name.
Does TikTok Install Spyware On Your Phone?
When installing the TikTok app, you will also be installing the spyware that comes with it, but don’t get too nervous about what that means.
First, you should know that you may already have a decent amount of spyware and malware on your device. This is because most, if not all, phones come with malware already installed regardless of the type of phone or carrier you have.
The next thing you should know is that most downloadable applications have spyware included on them. This way, they can track how you use the app to make it a more personalized experience. The last thing to note is that your phone is far more secure than your laptop or desktop computer.
Phones were built to have some protection for the user. This includes privacy protection.
Are There Any Known Security Threats On TikTok?
If you are a user of TikTok, you may already know about the class-action lawsuit that the app currently faces.
The lawsuit directly names data mining as one of the complaints from users. This means that users want more transparency regarding how their data is being used and stored.
Thus, this lawsuit has made users question why there is a need for spyware in general. It isn’t only data mining that users are worried about either.
While the importance of cybersecurity is growing, so does the way breaches happen. This includes facial and voice recognition, which the lawsuit directly names as two things users are worried about.
Why does a media giant like TikTok need to use facial recognition software on their video-sharing app? That is the question that many are hoping gets answered through litigation.
Should I Install Antivirus On My Phone Before Downloading TikTok?
No, you don’t have to download antivirus on your phone before downloading an app like TikTok.
This is because your phone already comes with security protection on it when you purchase it. Antivirus tech works by scanning applications or documents before you open them to ensure no malware or viruses are hidden in them.
Your phone will already scan these, especially if downloaded directly from your phone’s app store.
This is the opposite of using a computer that would recommend installing an antivirus application before downloading anything.
How Do You Know If TikTok Installs A Virus?
If something has been installed on your phone that shouldn’t be there, you will get a warning from your phone.
Phone devices like Androids and Apple come with their security measures that constantly track your activity and dangers that your device may face. Along with this, there are ways to keep tabs on what applications are doing on your phone.
Right from the TikTok app itself, you can see how data is stored. You can even go into your phone’s general settings to clear any cookies or caches that are stored.
If you are very concerned about an unknown virus installed on your phone, we suggest you take it to your retailer to do a clean scan!
Can You Prevent TikTok From Installing Spyware?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent TikTok from downloading their spyware to your device.
This is because it is built directly into the application’s code. However, there is no direct evidence showing that this hardware is doing any harm to your security.
If you are overly worried about this kind of problem, your best bet will be to avoid this app altogether and other social media giants who are also doing the same.
Can I Click On Everything In TikTok Safely?
When it comes to clicking on everything in TikTok and whether or not it is safe to do so, the answer is a very clear NO!
While TikTok strives to keep you as safe as possible, there are plenty of external features that can harm you or your device. Because TikTok allows users to send messages back and forth to each other, not everyone will have the best intentions when it comes to your safety.
One thing that TikTok has done differently as opposed to other apps is they only allow you to communicate with people you choose. You cannot receive or send messages to anyone who isn’t on your direct friend list.
Since TikTok is a social app, you are encouraged to be social. Meeting new people is a great way to elevate your social status but can also leave you vulnerable. You should never click on any links sent to you without completely trusting who is sending them.
When you click a link from TikTok, you will get a pop-up that warns you of opening unknown links. From there, it is up to you whether or not to open it. We encourage you to use caution before proceeding onto websites that may not be trusted!
Wrapping It Up!
While there certainly is some gray area when it comes to the safety of TikTok, I believe it is what you make it.
Exercising cautious optimism when using an application such as TikTok will be your safest bet. Apps like this are extremely popular, and it can feel like you’re on the outside if you don’t have one. Remember, they are not mandatory.
Using TikTok, you accept the risks that come with it and are responsible for your own experiences.
So, stay smart, stay vigilant, keep up with the newest news and updates regarding cybersecurity, and don’t trust everyone you connect with.