Be careful using browser built into TikTok


Be careful using browser built onto TikTok
Be careful you're not revealing more to TikTok than you mean to.
Photo: TikTok

The web browser built into the TikTok iPhone app can monitor your keystrokes. A developer who researched the software called it “the equivalent of installing a keylogger,” and warns that it can potentially grab passwords and credit card info.

A similar warning went out recently about the browsers built into Facebook and Instagram.

Be skeptical about TikTok and other third-party browsers

TikTok, Instagram, FaceBook and other iPhone applications come with their own built-in web browsers. Tap on a link in one of the apps and it opens in the company’s own browser. This allows the company to track users’ activity — that’s the whole reason the apps don’t open links in Safari.

ByteDance’s TikTok app has the ability to track far more than users might expect, according to Felix Krause, the founder of Fastlane.Tools.

“TikTok iOS subscribes to every keystroke (text inputs) happening on third party websites rendered inside the TikTok app,” says Krause in a blog post. “This can include passwords, credit card information and other sensitive user data. From a technical perspective, this is the equivalent of installing a keylogger on third party websites.”

‘Used only for debugging’

Just because the browser has the ability doesn’t mean that the app is actually recording everything users do on websites.

“Like other platforms, we use an in-app browser to provide an optimal user experience, but the Javascript code in question is used only for debugging, troubleshooting and performance monitoring of that experience — like checking how quickly a page loads or whether it crashes,” a ByteDance spokesperson told Forbes.

Nevertheless, be cautious about the web browser built into the TikTok iPhone app. Avoid entering passwords and credit card information into the browser.

That won’t be as simple as it could be because TikTok doesn’t make it easy for users to switch to Safari or another browser. in contrast, the browsers built into FaceBook and Instagram enable this switch with the press of a button.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.