Get the Low Down Before You Download: Exploring the Temu App’s Security Risks

Should you be concerned about your privacy while using the Temu app?

If you were one of the 123.4 million people watching Super Bowl XVIII this year, you probably recall seeing one of Temu’s “shop like a billionaire” commercials. Temu paid for three spots during the game and two post-game ads, with the in-game advertisement costing a reported $21 million.

As a Chinese-owned e-commerce discount store, Temu is competing with the already popular discount store, Shein, which has captured the approval of many American teenagers and their parents because of cost savings. Although not always high-quality, the premise of Shein and Temu is that you can snag trendy pieces without breaking the bank. But cheapness comes at a price. Shein has dealt with several accounts of forced labor accusations. Temu has also been accused of similar actions, but recently, they’ve come under fire for a different type of concern. A cybersecurity concern, that is.

Temu is now the target of several class action lawsuits, one of them claiming that once the Temu app is downloaded, it has access to nearly everything on a user’s phone. This lawsuit alleges that Temu uses malware and spyware to collect user data beyond what’s necessary for an online shopping app. Another lawsuit claims that Temu is careless with user data, failing to enable safe usage and storage of customers’ sensitive data. At this time, Temu denies all allegations.

And while at this point, the lawsuits are pending, and allegations are just that – allegations – it’s important to understand how to identify and mitigate privacy concerns related to any app you download.

Before you download an app from the app store on your phone, do you check the app privacy details?

It’s always a best practice to review the app privacy details in the app description before downloading it. Every time you download an app, you’ll inevitably have to create an account, thereby handing over your name, email, and potentially phone number, but you’ll want to make sure the apps limit it at that, or at least, don’t go far beyond it. Here’s how to check app privacy details before installing apps on your iPhone and Android devices.

It’s also important to audit all the apps already downloaded on your phone. Whether you’re an Apple or Android user, you can easily review and change access to information in your mobile apps. Learn more by visiting one of the following websites:

Recently, I realized my Google app had access to my entire contact list. I immediately went into the settings on my iPhone, chose the Contacts option, and then toggled off the Contacts sync with my Google account.

So, if you learn anything from this article, remember this – be proactive about your app security settings before it’s too late and you realize your information is in the wrong hands.

About Schneider Downs Cybersecurity

The Schneider Downs Cybersecurity practice consists of experts offering a comprehensive set of information technology security services, including penetration testing, intrusion prevention/detection review, ransomware security, vulnerability assessments and a robust digital forensics and incident response team. In addition, our?Digital Forensics and Incident Response?teams are available 24x7x365 at 1-800-993-8937 if you suspect or are experiencing a network incident of any kind. 

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