TikTok, PUBG and 50+ iOS Apps are snooping your iPhone’s clipboard data

By Manikanta Immanni

While everyone is thinking iOS to be a more reliable platform than Android, there’s a research revealing that more than 50 apps are covertly copying the clipboard content, and are still doing it. The list includes well-known services from news, games, social sites and utilities. These have been first reported to snooping on iOS devices clipboard content in March, and are again now.

Catching Red Handedly

Research by Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry in March revealed that around 56 iOS apps are actively snooping on users’ clipboard data without letting them know. After being reported, many of those apps have pledged to stop the practice, but are found to be doing still. Researchers claim that some apps like Chrome or others do have a legitimate reason to read the clipboard content, so as the make better suggestions later.

But the apps listed by researchers have no valid purpose of reading so. TikTok, in fact even tried to cover by saying it’s a legitimate feature to help themselves stop spammy behaviour on the platform, and would remove in next update to avoid the confusion. Yet, there’s still doing it. This was again surfaced by a new feature in iOS 14, which tells the user whenever an app reads the clipboard content.

Also Read: Apple to remove unlicensed gaming apps from App Store in China

Many users trying the iOS 14 beta have reported receiving alerts while typing something on TikTok. To say, there are more than 100 million iOS users on TikTok and are having their sensitive data snooped. The content includes everything that’s copied by the user from any app, even the passwords, cryptocurrency wallet addresses, email reset links etc.

Wide Reach

Getting weirder, this snooping is not limited to one device. Researchers reported that an iOS device within a range of 10 feet or any other iOS handset having the same Apple ID, would also share the same clipboard! Thus, an iPhone having TikTok can read the data that’s being copied from an iPad or MacBook within range. TikTok is even reading the data more aggressively after reporting earlier, copying the data almost every second.

The list includes many names like Fox News, CBS, CNBC, Al Jazeera English, Fruit Ninja, PUBG Mobile, AccuWeather, Hotels.com, 8 Ball Pool, Reuters, New York Times, Weibo, Truecaller, Viber, AliExpress, NPR etc.

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