Last weekend edition The new york times reported that the ToTok application allowed the UAE authorities to track conversations, movements and other data of users who installed it on their devices.
Well-known information security specialist Patrick Wardle, who helped the publication to learn ToTok, writes on his blog that the app appears to have been used for mass surveillance, which "probably allowed a deep study of most of the country's population." According to him, the application has gained popularity by offering free calls and messaging to users who have Skype and WhatsApp blocked, which also contributed to fake reviews. The expert compares ToTok with the “massive collection” of metadata that the NSA deals with, but notes that in this case the problem is even more serious.
According to Wardle, ToTok tricks iPhone and Android users into sharing location data and other personal data on their devices.
“You get access to users’ address books, chat rooms, location, and much more, in a completely “legitimate” way approved by Apple! ”The researcher writes.
According to media reports, the application launched this year was developed by Breej Holding, which seems to be just a screen related to DarkMatter, an Abu Dhabi-based firm specializing in cyber intelligence and hacking.
Currently, ToTok has already been expelled from the App Store (pending verification) and the Play Store (due to a violation of the rules of the platform). Application developers did not respond to espionage allegations, but reported on their blog that the messenger was "temporarily unavailable" in application stores due to technical problems. The developers assured that they are already in touch with Google and Apple to solve this problem.