Totok, a famous and popular chat app is allegedly a spying tool that is used by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government to spy on its users. A New York Times (NYT) report suggests that Totok spying tool spies on chats, movements, relationships and more. Also, the report says that the company behind the Totok app is reportedly a cyber-intelligence and hacking-expert company.
Users of Totok Spying Tool
Totok app came into existence just a few months ago and is most commonly used in countries within the Emirates. Other than that, there are a lot of users throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. According to a research website named ‘App Annie’, Totok was the most downloaded social app in the U.S.
Google and Apple removed the App
The New York Times reports that Google and Apple have removed Totok from their app stores since finding out that it is a spy tool. A Google spokesperson told Digital Trends relating to this issue,
We take reports of security and privacy violations seriously. If we find behavior that violates our policies, we take action.
There is no as such response from Apple about why they removed Totok from their App Store. But obviously, the reason might be similar to that of Google to remove the app.
Totok’s reply to the New York Times Report
Totok’s company releases a statement yesterday on 23rd December on its website in response to the report of it being a spy tool. The statement did not approve or disagree on any claims made in the report. The statement given by the company is,
We equipped ToTok with such high-security standards as AES256, TLS/SSL, RSA, and SHA256 to diligently protect the user data. We also implemented a privacy framework that complies with the local and international legal requirements to safeguard our users at all times,
In the statement, the company also says the reason for the app missing from Google and App stores is due to a “technical issue”.
While it is disturbing that Totok can track your location, it’s not a new thing for apps to do so. There are many such apps about whom we are unknown but they are also tracking your location, spying into your conversations, movements, etc. To prevent your data from being hacked, all you can do is turn off location services on individual apps.
Sources: Digital Trends
Ayesha Khan is a Content Writer and Digital Marketer at Codematics Inc. She has done her BS in Electronic Engineering. In her free time, you can find her cooking meals, reading books or watching Kdramas. Search for her articles under the hashtag #AKArticle on LinkedIn and Twitter.