Bad guys posted a 15-second video with sexy images and invitations to viewers to connect with TikTok, from there, lure them to black websites.
Recently, network security company Tenable has published a 50-page report on the types of scams that are appearing on the TikTok platform. Accordingly, there are three main types of scams: Use short videos to lure users into pornographic sites, impersonate celebrities and buy and sell like to profit from advertising. Among these, the type of fraud that entices viewers to visit porn is considered to be the simplest way of doing things, but it is easy to cause serious consequences.
Bad guys will use short videos taken from other platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat, with images of girls wearing swimsuits or tight-fitting sportswear. Thanks to the video suggestion feature according to user’s preferences, these videos are easily accessible to potential viewers. In the video description, the account holder will use invitations to lure viewers to connect with him, possibly through a 3rd application, like Snapchat.
According to researcher from Tenable, after connecting, bad guys will continue to entice viewers to pay for Snapchat Premium feature or access charged websites to watch porn videos. For each viewer, bad guys can receive commissions up to 50 USD.
Although TikTok does not directly promote sensitive content, due to gaps in management, combined with the ability to understand users, it has been exploited to make money for pornographic websites, as well as possible harm your viewers, especially when viewers on TikTok are mostly young.
The South, a young man claiming to be “addicted to TikTok”, said he could spend an hour every day using the app. Although he has not encountered such scams, he believes that the risk is entirely possible by the number of users, content creators on TikTok in Vietnam are increasing. In the app, viewers can only click like or comment on the video, but TikTok also supports users to connect with each other via an app like Instagram, YouTube or Twitter.
Mr. Vu Minh (Hanoi) is an IT engineer and has a son who is in the 6th grade. He said he used to lend his phone to TikTok because he has many short, funny videos, however, he just delete the application because it accidentally discovered that videos with revealing images appeared.
According to Mr. Minh, TikTok as well as many other platforms always exist a variety of content, belonging to all different genres. However, with a simple, accessible interface, just users click on hashtag or type in the search bar can be transferred to any type of content they want. In addition, with a special video of only 15 seconds long, which is constantly transferred, many of them are voiced with popular music, so it is difficult for parents to control what their children have seen. “Once you see something, TikTok will continue to offer similar videos. If it is sensitive content, it will be very dangerous,” Minh said.
After Tenable’s report, TikTok also deleted fraudulent accounts and reviewed to handle suspicious accounts. The representative also shared policies to protect users and prevent bad content before they could reach viewers, however, did not disclose the number of infringing accounts.
As a popular application in many countries, including Vietnam (with 12 million monthly users – March 2019 data), TikTok was once banned in many countries such as India, Bangladesh and Indonesia because collecting child data, containing pornography and causing many fatal accidents.