(Riya Singh, Intern Journalist): Recently, the government banned 59 apps including TikTok which now led to a rise in scams based on the application. Scammers use SMS phishing attacks to lure users to install TikTok, claiming it to be the new version of the app in India. They send messages via WhatsApp and SMS to innocent smartphone users in India where they say TikTok is available in India as TikTok Pro.

“Enjoy TikTok Videos and also make Create Videos again. Now TikTok is only Available in (TikTok pro) So Download from below”, the message reads, followed by a link to download the TikTok Pro APK file. Several Twitter users have got similar messages on their smartphones too.

Upon installing this, users can see an application with an icon like the original TikTok software. The app then asks them for specific permissions like a camera and microphones. The app does little, however, until those permissions are given. It’s just being on the phone.

The app is not available on the Google Play Store as it goes, and can’t be purchased from somewhere else. This combined with the fact that no such app has been released by TikTok, suggests that malicious actors use this ability to trick unsuspecting TikTok users into installing malicious software.

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