For the casual user, ToTok is supposedly a messaging app that takes pride for being one of the safest and most secure apps for engaging in text and video chats. Unfortunately, behind its innocent facade lies a more sinister ploy, that of spying on the user devices.
At least that is what the latest investigation led by the US intelligence department has revealed, which claimed the ToTok app could be the handiwork of the UAE government-backed intelligence agencies to spy on users. The app which also originates in the UAE counts the majority of its users from the regions.
However, the app has recently seen a huge surge in demand from other regions in the world, including the US. ToTok had already emerged as one of the most sought after messaging apps in the US for both the Android and Apple iOS platforms. Its userbase had also grown into millions, which also underscores the grave security threat it poses for users or even nation-states.
Among the user info that is being tracked include the conversations that the users get into, their appointments, location data on the pretext of providing accurate weather info, social connections and so on. The app also has an interesting antecedent. For instance, it shows to have been created by a company that goes by the name Breej Holding.
However, Breej Holding is considered to be run by another entity named DarkMatter which again happens to be the cyber-intelligence front of the UAE intelligence officials. US investigations also revealed DarkMatter has on its rolls several ex-NSA officials as well as intelligence officials from the Israeli military.
What’s more, the ToTok app itself is being considered to be a cloned version of a Chinese messaging app YeeCall. If that isn’t enough, ToTok has also been found to have a connection with Pax AI which is a data mining company that enjoys links with DarkMatter.
In any case, the pattern is already well known considering that such apps are widely used to track people’s connections and location info. Such data is then used to keep a track of people suspected to be foreign spies or for tracking terror modules and so on.
Meanwhile, both Google and Apple have pulled ToTok from their respective app stores. Google justified the act claiming the app violated policies while Apple said it is researching the matter further. Users too are recommended to uninstall the app from their phones if they haven’t done so already.