Expert explains security risks from having TikTok on your phone
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Social media scrolling is coming to a stop for students, as Auburn bans TikTok from campus Wi-Fi and campus devices. This comes after Gov. Kay Ivy banned the app earlier this week for government devices and Wi-Fi.
“Banning it on campus might make a lot of people unhappy,” UAB Cyber Security Expert Dr. Ragib Hasan said. “At the same time, we have to think about the potential risks. Wherever you go, whenever you move, as long as you have an app like TikTok on your phone, that app can track your location almost all the time.”
Hasan said when the app asks you if it can connect your photos, location or contacts, it’s pulling all that data and storing it. He said sometimes it’s collecting more than you think.
“There is always a chance they can do it behind your back,” Hasan said. “Sometimes, this app will take a lot more information than they need to and you never know what they are collecting. You might give it permission to access photos on your computer, but that permission gives it access to collect other documents or info. That’s the big risk.”
It’s risks like this that have the app banned from over a dozen states’ government devices, federal devices, and Auburn’s campus Wi-Fi and devices.
“Banning it from government offices, state offices, as well as campuses is definitely a good idea to protect our national security and private information,” Hasan said
But, there’s things you can do to try and protect yourself if you have the app and want to keep scrolling.
“You don’t have to give them all the permissions,” Hasan said. “You don’t want the app to get your contact list, that’s something you can prevent. Unless needed, don’t give it access to photos or files on your phone. Give it access at the time, then give up access.”
Hasan said there is a huge marketplace for app data collection, so apps like TikTok are working to get more information about you to likely create a data profile and sell it.
There is currently no TikTok ban on UAB campuses.
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