Hackers targeted celebrities on TikTok using private messages

(Bloomberg) — Hackers targeted well-known brands and celebrities on TikTok, sending a malicious link via private messages to hijack important accounts.

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The social media service owned by ByteDance Ltd. said it was taking steps to mitigate the incident and prevent it from happening again. Intruders hacked into the account of cable news channel CNN, the company confirmed, although a spokesperson declined to disclose the full list of accounts targeted or compromised.

The scale of the hacking efforts was not immediately clear, although the spokesperson added that “the number of compromised accounts is very small.”

“Our security team is aware of a potential exploit targeting a number of brand and celebrity accounts,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “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.

The future of TikTok in the United States has become a contentious issue in the run-up to the US presidential election in November. China-based ByteDance is currently facing a deadline to sell TikTok amid concerns that the government in Beijing could influence TikTok’s algorithms or collect sensitive information about U.S. users. ByteDance sued the US government to try to block the forced sale.

More than 170 million Americans use the service every month.

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