It is no secret that some messaging applications are preferred by authoritarians, but one application might be designed explicitly with spying as the main aim. Unidentified US executives speaking to the media claim that ToTok (the chat app) is thought to be a surveillance app for the UAE. As per a classified intelligence report, the UAE employs ToTok to follow consumers’ chats, look at media, and establish social connections. Most of the million of users of the app reside in the UAE, but it is well-liked all over the globe and has witnessed an increment of demand in the US.
There seem to have been efforts to cover up the roots of ToTok. It is formally designed by Breej Holding, but that is thought to be a front for DarkMatter, a cyberintelligence firm operated by former operatives from the Israeli military intelligence and NSA along with UAE intelligence executives. The app is also connected to Pax AI, a data mining firm connected to DarkMatter.
The UAE, Breej, and the CIA have refused to answer. The FBI claimed that it would not comment on a specific app, but emphasized that it needs consumers to be aware of the “possible vulnerabilities and risks” they can pose.
Both Google and Apple have removed ToTok from their respective stores. Google claimed that the app breached unidentified policies, while Apple clarified that it was still studying the chat client. On the other hand, the damage may already be done when a number of people already have the application. If this is true, the UAE efficiently encouraged millions of users to give up their data to spies without a battle. It highlights the significance of employing encrypted apps—they not only keep outside impostors away, they often stop coders themselves from tracing your activity.