TikTok warning for students



Dear Students,

on 8th March 2023 The National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB) has issued Warning against a cybersecurity threat consisting of installing and using the TikTok app.

What exactly does this threat consist of? What exactly does this threat consist of? From the point of view of cybersecurity, it is primarily the case that TikTok collects excessive amounts of user data, in particular:

In more detail:

All the information collected may be used against you in the future, e.g. for very good lazy phishing or for blackmail.

Consider these risks yourself. We recommend that you do not use this application and do not connect to the University Study Information System from the device on which this application is installed.

If you are already using the app and want to continue using it despite warnings, then strongly recommend:

If you decide to try and install the app over the warning (or because of it), we recommend:

Is TikTok the only application that wants access to contacts or collects personal data?

No! There are a lot of applications that collect personal data. For example, there are a number of communication systems where the user is identified by their phone number and that want access to your contacts during installation. Likewise, there are applications with a web browser. When using these applications, we recommend the same caution and consideration of what personal data to provide.

So what makes the TikTok application different?

  1. the amount of data collected
  2. it is a platform developed and operated by the Chinese company ByteDance. The company has access to the data collected and to your communication within the platform. The company is an entity within the scope of Chinese national legislation, which imposes on all Chinese citizens and organizations relatively large obligations in providing information to state authorities. The perk is the obligation to report identified security vulnerabilities to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and IT and not to foreign organizations and individuals affected by the vulnerability - this is even forbidden. The possibility of your personal data getting outside the company and being misused for something is great in such an environment.

Why now?

Why was the warning issued now, when TikTok has existed and been popular for a long time? NÚKIB refers to the annual report of the Security Information Service (BIS) for the year 2021, according to which the PRC represents a growing complex intelligence threat.