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TikTok hack targets ‘high profile’ users via direct messages

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TikTok hack targets 'high profile' users via direct messages

TikTok says it is currently taking steps to mitigate a cyberattack targeting several high-profile users via direct messages, in an attempt to hijack their accounts.

“We have taken steps to stop this attack and prevent it from happening again in the future. “We are working directly with affected account owners to restore access, if necessary,” says Jason Grosse, spokesperson for TikTok’s privacy and security team.

Grosse says TikTok is still investigating the attack and cannot comment at this time on its scale or sophistication, describing the threat as simply a “potential exploit.”

TikTok’s acknowledgment came after a report on Tuesday claiming that CNN’s account had been temporarily breached last week. Citing an anonymous source at the news organization, Semifor reports that the breach “did not appear to be the result of anyone gaining access by CNN.” CNN did not immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment.

Concerns about hacking attempts against news organizations in the United States are particularly high given the impending presidential election this fall.

Forbes reported Earlier in the day, hotel heiress Paris Hilton’s account was similarly affected, citing sources within the company. A TikTok source tells WIRED that Hilton’s account was attacked but not compromised.

Security and privacy concerns around TikTok extend beyond cyberattacks by malicious actors. The company itself is struggling to remain available in the United States after US President Joe Biden signed a law in April forcing its parent company, China-based ByteDance, to sell TikTok or face a ban. TikTok and several users have sued the US government, claiming the law is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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