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US military branches ban TikTok following Pentagon’s warning – Naked Security

Security Watch

US military branches ban TikTok following Pentagon’s warning – Naked Security


Last month, the Pentagon told US military to steer clear of what it sees as a national-security landmine: the singing/dancing/jokey TikTok platform.

Tell your Department of Defense employees not to download it, and wipe it if it’s already on their devices, the Defense Information Systems Agency recommended.

Some military outfits have snapped to attention and heeded the call. A number of military branches in the US have now banned the popular Chinese-owned social media app on government-issued smartphones, and some have even discouraged members of the armed forces from using it on their personal devices.

From an email sent on Friday by Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Christopher Harrison to the New York Times:

Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command has blocked TikTok from government-issued mobile devices. This decision is consistent with our efforts to proactively address existing and emerging threats as we secure and defend our network. This block only applies to government-issued mobile devices.

In December 2019, the Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page posted an email from Naval Network Warfare Command that called TikTok a “cybersecurity threat” and told users to uninstall it from their iPhones and iPads:

TikTok is a cybersecurity threat. Users are instructed NOT to install the application on their mobile device. DO NOT install Tiktok on your Government furnished mobile device. If you have this application on your device, remove it immediately.

The response of one Facebook user: “It’s amazing they actually have to be told not to do this.”

An Air Force spokeswoman noted that it’s not just TikTok that has the military worried:

The threats posed by social media are not unique to TikTok (though they may certainly be greater on that platform), and DoD personnel must be cautious when making any public or social media post.

All DoD personnel take annual cyber-awareness training that covers the threats that social media can pose, as well as annual operations security training that covers the broader issue of safeguarding information.

Removing TikTok won’t keep information out of China’s hands, the Pentagon said in its 16 December message, but at least it will plug whatever leaks to Beijing are now happening:

Doing so will not prevent already potentially compromised information from propagating, but it could keep additional information from being collected.

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