Developer and cybersecurity researcher Felix Krause recently launched the open-access site (open-source) InAppBrowser.com (New window). With this tool, you can check whether browsers that open inside mobile apps, like Instagram or TikTok, are tracking your online activity.
” Some iOS and Android apps use a custom browser within the app. This entails risks for the security and privacy of the user. »
Concretely, this means that when you click on a URL to buy a product on TikTok, for example, the application opens an internal window. And as with any online purchase, you enter sensitive data such as mailing address, credit card information and sometimes a password.
A TikTok spokesperson confirmed the practice to the magazine. Forbesstating that
How to protect yourself
If it is positive, remember to check if the application you are using offers the possibility of opening an external browser such as Safari or Google, for example.
Felix Krause also notes that TikTok is the only application among those he tested that does not offer the possibility of using the device’s default browser.
The developer also insists that his tool is not infallible:
The giants are stalking us
In mid-August, Felix Krause alerted internet users in a detailed report (New window) on how application browsers could pose a risk to the privacy of users of Apple devices, in particular.
Meta told the developer that Facebook and Instagram users already consent to having their data tracked. According to the web giant, this information is only used for targeted advertising or measurement purposes.
For purchases made through the in-app browser, we require user consent to save payment information for auto-fill purposessaid a spokesperson.
Krause’s report also revealed that the Snapchat and Robinhood apps have better practices for tracking users: they don’t modify web pages or retrieve metadata from sites you open in their browsers.