E-Commerce Platform Temu: A Rising Star or a Security Risk?
Surging Popularity Amidst Security Concerns
The low-cost e-commerce platform, Temu, has quickly gained popularity among online shoppers in the United States and Europe, achieving nearly 100 million downloads in just nine months. However, a technical report by Grizzly Research indicates serious concerns about the security of user data within the app, painting a potentially troubling picture for the booming business.
Hidden Functions and Malware Characteristics
Grizzly Research’s analysis of Temu’s app code revealed characteristics typically found in invasive malware and spyware. The app appears to contain hidden functions designed to expropriate private data and information from users’ smartphones, raising alarm bells about its true intent. These findings are echoed by a Deep Malware Analysis tool provided by cybersecurity firm Joe Security LLC, which also categorizes Temu’s app as “malicious.”
The Connection to Pinduoduo
Interestingly, the developers who created Pinduoduo, another app from Temu’s parent company PDD, are believed to also be behind Temu. Pinduoduo was notably suspended from the Google Play Store due to similar security issues, suggesting a pattern of questionable practices. Furthermore, Temu reportedly sells products at a loss, even with substantial shipping costs from Chinese warehouses to Europe and the US. The company allegedly compensates for these losses by selling users’ private data, losing approximately $30 per sale.
Potential Violation of U.S. National Security
Given that Chinese companies are legally required to share their databases with government agencies, this could potentially pose a violation of U.S. national security. Consequently, there have been calls for the app to be removed from major app stores. Amidst these concerns, PDD, the parent company of Temu, is also under scrutiny for its lack of transparency, with no public financial data and no CFO since 2018.
Implications and Future Direction
These findings raise significant concerns about user data security and potential national security violations, necessitating closer scrutiny of such e-commerce platforms. While the rapid rise of Temu demonstrates the potential of e-commerce, it also highlights the urgent need for robust cybersecurity measures to protect user data.
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