A ‘excessive severity’ TikTok vulnerability allowed one-click account hijacking

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2022-08-31 16:01:33

A vulnerability within the TikTok app for Android may have let attackers take over any account that clicked on a malicious hyperlink, doubtlessly affecting tons of of hundreds of thousands of customers of the platform.

Particulars of the one-click exploit had been revealed at this time in a weblog submit from researchers on Microsoft’s 365 Defender Analysis Workforce. The vulnerability was disclosed to TikTok by Microsoft, and has since been patched.

The bug and its ensuing assault, labelled a “excessive severity vulnerability,” may have been used to hijack the account of any TikTok person on Android with out their information, as soon as they clicked on a specifically crafted hyperlink. After the hyperlink was clicked, the attacker would have entry to all major capabilities of the account, together with the power to add and submit movies, ship messages to different customers, and look at personal movies saved within the account.

The potential impression was enormous, because it affected all international variants of the Android TikTok app, which has a complete of greater than 1.5 billion downloads on the Google Play Retailer. Nonetheless, there’s no proof it was exploited at scale. Researchers concerned with the invention and disclosure praised TikTok for a fast response.

“We gave them details about the vulnerability and collaborated to assist repair this situation” Tanmay Ganacharya, associate director for safety analysis at Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, instructed The Verge. “TikTok responded rapidly, and we commend the the environment friendly {and professional} decision from the safety group.”

In line with particulars revealed within the weblog submit, the vulnerability affected the deep hyperlink performance of the Android app. This deep hyperlink dealing with tells the working system to let sure apps course of hyperlinks in a selected approach, akin to opening the Twitter app to observe a person after clicking an HTML “Observe this account” button embedded in a webpage.

This hyperlink dealing with additionally features a verification course of that ought to prohibit the actions carried out when an utility masses a given hyperlink. However the researchers discovered a method to bypass this verification course of and execute a lot of doubtlessly weaponizable capabilities inside the app.

Certainly one of these capabilities allow them to retrieve an authentication token tied to a sure person account, successfully granting account entry with out the necessity to enter a password. In a proof-of-concept assault, the researchers crafted a malicious hyperlink that, when clicked, modified a TikTok account’s bio to learn “SECURITY BREACH.”

A screenshot of a compromised account.
Microsoft

Luckily, the vulnerability was detected, and Microsoft has used the chance to emphasize the significance of collaboration and coordination between expertise platforms and distributors.

“As threats throughout platforms proceed to develop in numbers and class, vulnerability disclosures, coordinated response, and different types of risk intelligence sharing are wanted to assist safe customers’ computing expertise, whatever the platform or machine in use,” wrote Microsoft’s Dimitrios Valsamaras within the weblog submit. “We’ll proceed to work with the bigger safety group to share analysis and intelligence about threats within the effort to construct higher safety for all.”

Though the TikTok app just isn’t identified to have suffered any main hacks to this point, some critics have branded it a safety threat for different causes.

Not too long ago, considerations have been raised over the extent to which US customers’ knowledge may be accessed by China-based engineers at ByteDance, TikTok’s mum or dad firm. In July, Senate Intelligence Committee leaders referred to as on FTC chair Lina Khan to analyze TikTok after reviews introduced into query claims that US customers’ knowledge was walled off from the Chinese language department of the corporate.

TikTok had not responded to questions from The Verge by time of publication.



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