TikTok challenge exposes participants to data theft, NCC warns

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The TikTok logo is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro max in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on September 29, 2020. The TikTok app will be banned from US app stores from Sunday unless president Donald Trump approves a last-minute deal between US tech firm Oracle and TikTok owner ByteDance. US authorities say the Chinese video sharing app threaten national security and could pass on user data to China. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has warned about the potential harm of taking part in the Invisible Challenge on the short-form video hosting service, TikTok.

The NCC-CSIRT advisory said threat actors took advantage of the viral Invisible Challenge to disseminate an information-stealing malware known as the WASP (or W4SP) stealer. 

The WASP stealer, which has a high probability of causing critical damage, is a persistent malware hosted on Discord that its creator claims is undetectable.

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According to the NCC-CSIRT, the Invisible Challenge entails wrapping a somewhat transparent body contouring filter around a presumed naked individual.

Attackers are uploading videos to TikTok with a link to software that claims to be able to reverse the filter’s effects.

“Those who click on the link and attempt to download the software, known as “unfilter,” are infected with the WASP stealer. Suspended accounts had amassed over a million views after initially posting the videos with a link. Following the link leads to the “Space Unfilter” Discord server, which had 32,000 members at its peak but has since been removed by its creators.

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“Successful installation will allow the malware to harvest keystrokes, screenshots, network activity, and other information from devices where it is installed. It may also covertly monitor user behaviour and harvest Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including names and passwords, keystrokes from emails, chat programs, websites visited, and financial activity. This malware may be capable of covertly collecting screenshots, video recordings, or the ability to activate any connected camera or microphone,” the regulator explained.

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Preventive measures: The Team said some of the ways to forestall such an attack include avoiding clicking on suspicious links, using anti-malware software on your devices, checking your app tray and removing any apps that you do not remember installing or that are dormant, and embracing healthy password hygiene practices such as using a password manager.

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