Is Chingari maker Globussoft’s website infected with malware? That’s what the well-known French security researcher Robert Baptiste, who goes by pseudonym Elliot Alderson on Twitter, has said. Posting on Twitter Baptiste said: “The website of Globussoft, the company behind Chingari, the so-called Indian TikTok alternative, has been compromised.” He noted that the site had a malware script in all pages, that redirects users to pages around the Web. At the time of writing, the Chingari team could not respond to a request for comment.
However, on Twitter, Chingari’s co-founder Sumit Ghosh posted to say: “Thanks for pointing the wp issue to me, Chingari was incubated under Globussoft and built by us, the security of Chingari app/ website and our users is not compromised by any of this. It is securely stored on dedicated and secure AWS instances. We will fix the wp issue soon.” He added, “Globussoft website and chingari app have very different security/engineering teams and are totally unrelated. Chingari will soon be an independent company.”
According to Baptiste’s post, the site has been injected with a drop script to redirect users, and included a report of where this redirect goes. Replying to Baptiste, another Twitter user (CitizenK, whose bio says he is a UI developer) wrote that BitDefender found cryptojacking malware on the Globussoft website. Further, using the site check from website security service Sucuri, he found multiple instances of malware being detected — Gadgets 360 checked this and tested multiple sites including Chingari’s website, and only the Globussoft site set off these warnings.
It must be noted that the presence of this malware does not point to any issues in the Chingari app, although as Baptiste noted in his final post on the subject, it does raise questions.
Chingari was released on Google Play and the App Store, and crossed 25 lakh downloads last week. The free app bears a lot of resemblance to TikTok, but reviews left on Google Play raised issues like the app being slow, only showing a few videos, and crashing from time to time. It appears that a lot of support is because the app is made in India. One review on Google Play noted, “Downloaded to promote Indian dev’s but compared to TikTok still has a long way to go to be mainstream.”
After TikTok, as well as 58 other ‘Chinese’ apps, got banned by the Government on Monday, there has been a surge of interest in alternatives that people can use instead, and Chingari along with another app, Mitron, gained a lot of attention. On Wednesday, another TikTok competitor HiPi was launched by Zee5.
After TikTok was banned, Chingari co-founder Sumit Ghosh took to social media to share how many people were downloading the app, and how many videos were being seen. In a statement to Gadgets 360, Ghosh added, “This is a very good step taken by the Government of India and the IT Ministry of India. For a very long time, TikTok has been spying on users and sending back the data to China.”
In 2020, will WhatsApp get the killer feature that every Indian is waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.