Weekly Roundup: Trump Continues to Ban TikTok & Tencent, and Alexagate Turns Out Awesome

This week saw the Trump administration stretching their ban on China-backed mobile apps and cutting Chinese foothold in the market, Alexagate is becoming increasingly popular among those who use Amazon Echo and other smart devices at home. Read some of the top stories from the cybersecurity world this week.

STFU, I can’t hear you

Last week, privacy pundits rejoiced when Alexagate was launched. Alexagate is a new security device that can block your voice when you are not using Amazon Echo at home. Perhaps you love your smart device, but you may be unaware of how intrusive it is in our daily lives: it’s always listening. Always. And what’s worse, those private conversations are being sent to advertisers. While you may trust Amazon, what if malicious attackers hack your Echo or the Amazon servers? They can hear everything.  

And that, my friends, is why Alexagate exists: to make Echo users feel safe at home and turn down the sensor when not in use. 

It’s worth it in the end…

Considering some of the security policies on Facebook, Twitter, and third-party apps, Alexagate seems like an important device to me. The biggest reason, of course, is privacy. You must have heard about how smart IoT devices are now common. But we have no idea what hardware they are using, which, for all we know, obsolete in terms of security, and thus might have no solid security protocols in place. 

Hackers have already penetrated baby monitors and security cameras, so we are fooling ourselves if we are thinking smart devices are safer. Yes, they are convenient and helpful, but we need to assure our privacy as well. Device manufacturers have only one thing in mind: to sell products, so security sometimes goes out of the picture. (I mean, most of them think we don’t care. We’re here to set the record straight that there are plenty of issues to worry about.)

Additionally, any device with an Internet connection is on the verge of malicious attacks whether or not it is caused by brute force attacks. IoT device users must understand the dangers of using such devices especially when you are living with your loved ones. You can’t simply buy a smart voice-controlled device and automatically assume it follows security protocols, be it Amazon’s Echo or Google Mini Home, smart thermostat, or Ecobee.  

Moreover, voice-based searches can be a threat as well. You might think of yourself as Ironman when giving Alexa instructions on what to do for you at home, but you are also exposing your schedule, your habits, and your sleeping patterns to a device that is ill-fitted to protect you against hackers or surveillance agencies. That’s why Alexagate was released: to bring privacy back to the people. 

Google, Amazon, and online retailers are spending money on ads and gathering a ridiculous amount of data to learn more about their customers, their lifestyle habits, and the gadgets they prefer using. And creating voice-controlled devices is the easiest way to listen to what you have to say about everything. We may sound like we’re severely secure conscious, but we’re the PureVengers and see it happening faster than you imagine. 

That’s why you must also invest in security-driven products to make sure no one intrudes your online privacy, especially if you’re a fan of smart assistants. Use it only when you need and not always. We deserve to get our freedom back. 

USA 1, China 0

The United States of America is turning its back to Chinese-led devices as well as mobile apps. There are many speculations that the USA might actually ban the free internet from China or the outside world. Due to growing threats to its cybersecurity ventures and private data of citizens, the American government has signed a bill that prevents China from prying into American citizens’ data. The ban may come in effect late this year, if not early 2021. 

The Great Firewall of … America? 

We think the USA is giving China the taste of its own medicine by creating an Internet firewall. We, the PureVengers, think that the US government wants to sideline China as they are the next in line to become the superpower of the world, and the US feels threatened. Therefore, they are planning to ban their digital services with great American reach. On the other hand, Microsoft is looking to buy ByteDance, the Chinese company behind Tiktok, but that means putting China under its thumb in both cases. 

We heard about the potential TikTok ban in the US and how it can be a national security threat. India has already banned TikTok because of the cross-border tensions between the countries. But Microsoft has previously bought LinkedIn, and we don’t understand why the US government is not letting the investors buy TikTok. Why make TikTok a big deal and give orders in such a hurry? 

We believe the answer is PAYBACK! The Trump administration is being selfish and doing what China did to them. They are forcing Chinese products to vacate the US just like China banned US companies in its region. COVID-19 saw China as the most powerful country to fight back against the disease with markets crashing everywhere else so the US is playing the diplomacy card in this battle. 

This step may force other countries to look over their security measures and aggressively work on creating such Internet firewalls. Doing so has the potential to level the field for all great superpowers of the world. Trump is doing what no other administration did in the past: banning China in the USA. We will wait and see how China responds to these speculations. 

Tencent is a goner in the US.

The Trump administration has shocked the world by putting a ban on Tencent in September 2020. After banning TikTok to protect the data of its citizens, the US president claimed that security is the priority of the government and Tencent isn’t compliant. That’s why they are declaring to put a potential ban on Tencent owners and all related transactions. This ban will surely affect Tencent and the market share it enjoys in the USA. 

USA 2, China 0

The current US government is really going after China this time. US residents were complaining about TikTok and now this: WeChat and Tencent, a huge videogame investor company with stocks in Tesla and Snap, is facing a ban in September. It was a jaw-dropping moment for us PureVengers as well when we saw the news. 

But good news for gamers: There is nothing to worry about, because games like Fortnite, League of Legends, or any other games with Tencent’s holdings are not affected by this executive order. However, we can confirm that WeChat will face a permanent ban in September 2020 because the US government is cornering China in the name of “national security threats.” 

This is the USA forcing China out of its region and restricting the foothold they have on international markets. Think about it: TikTok and WeChat have been around for many years, but for some odd reason, the US government have now decided to target Chinese apps to protect private data of citizens. Maybe Trump wants to make sure everything remains transparent before the US Presidential elections in November 2020. Clearly he will lose a lot of the China vote from this move, but he already lost them, we guess.

That’s right: TikTok has millions of US subscribers, and most of them belong to Generation Z: they’re turning 18 in 2020. These are the millions of new voters who might go with the flow if they see a TikTok trend and are likely to get angry from this ban. In fact, they might topple the current government with their votes, so this is something Trump should probably be worried about. (It is understandable, actually, because these social media platforms are a way to alter the election results. We guess he doesn’t want that. Let’s see what blocking them will do for his future come November.)

Sameed Ajax Sameed is a Digital Content Producer at PureVPN who covers cybersecurity, streaming, and weekly news. He also shares awesome guides and easy hacks to help Internet users protect their private data. Besides that, he waste time playing FIFA, eating pizza, and sending tweets.

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