TikTok Warns Cyberattack Targeted High Profile Accounts


Video app admits small number of high profile users including Paris Hilton and CNN were subjected to a cyberatack

TikTok has admitted that a small number of its high profile users and brand names have been subjected to a cyberattack.

The Associated Press reported that on Tuesday TikTok said it has taken steps to stop the cyberattack and has implemented “enhanced safety measures” to protect those accounts.

The cyberattack reportedly targeted a number of prominent accounts, including accounts belonging to news giant CNN, as well as socialite and reality TV star Paris Hilton, whose account was targeted but not apparently compromised.

TikTok cyberattack

“Our security team was recently alerted to malicious actors targeting CNN’s TikTok account,” TikTok spokesperson Jason Grosse was quoted by AP as saying in a prepared statement.

TikTok has been working with CNN to restore its access to the account and add “enhanced security measures” to safeguard it, Grosse reportedly added.

“We are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the platform and will continue to monitor for any further inauthentic activity,” Grosse stated.

CNN did not immediately reply to a request for comment, AP reported.

According to the AP report, TikTok admitted the cyberattack utilised the platform’s direct-messaging feature. The platform did not reveal any further information about the nature of the hack.

Grosse told AP that TikTok is still investigating the “potential exploit” and working with affected account owners who need their access restored.

The TikTok spokesperson did not share the number of accounts that were targeted, but said only “a very small number of accounts were compromised.”

US ban or divest

TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance is currently challenging a US law in American courts that requires it to sell TikTok by next January or face a ban in the country.

The US Senate had in April passed the legislation (otherwise known as the ‘Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act’), that gives ByteDance up to a year to divest TikTok, or face a nationwide ban across the United States.

Also immediately US President Joe Biden followed through on his previous commitment to back the bill, and signed the bill into law.

The ban or divest law gives Beijing-based ByteDance 270 days (or roughly nine months) to sell TikTok to a US-based company, or the app will face a total ban from American app stores, as well as being prohibited from “internet hosting services” that support the app.

President Biden could extend the deadline another 90 days if he determines ByteDance has made progress toward a sale.

That would give TikTok potentially up to a year before facing a ban.

But ByteDance is subject to Chinese law, and the Chinese government has previously stated it will oppose a sale.

Last week it was reported that TikTok is developing a clone of app’s recommendation algorithm.

It could result in a version of the popular short video app that operates independently of its Chinese parent ByteDance. It could also be more palatable to American lawmakers who want to ban it.