Sexy Snapchat Selfies Might Not Be Secure – it looks as though the Snapchat app, used by many to send sexy selfies, may not be as secure a platform as they might wish.
It has been very much a mixed week for the people from Snapchat. One the plus side a UK academic study has found that nearly all teenagers here in the UK regard Facebook as ‘dead and buried’ and have moved over to using Snapchat, Twitter and Whatsapp for their main social media needs. Many still keep their Facebook profiles going but just to contact brothers and sisters who are at university and for little else.
It appears the main reason behind teenagers abandoning their Facebook accounts is the fact that their parents are now using the site and in many cases it is a good way for them to monitor what is going on in their child’s life outside the family home. Also it is not too cool to use the same social media platform as your parents. It is much the same as not wanting to drink in the same bar as your parents.
For anyone not aware of Snapchat, it is an app that is used to send photos, videos, drawings and text messages to one or more selected recipients.One of its main uses however has been to send ‘sexy selfies’ and this is because one feature of Snapchat is that the user can set a time limit for how long any video or photo they send can be viewed on the recipient’s device. This time limit for viewing can currently be set anywhere between 1 and 10 seconds and so the app is seen as perfect for sending a tease photo.
The other big feature of the app is that is once the photo or video has been viewed for the allotted time then it is deleted not only from the recipient’s device but also the Snapchat servers. It doesn’t however take an IT genius to work out that the screenshot offers a quick solution to a disappearing image. In one instance in the US a 50-year old woman in Missouri was arrested after a naked photo of her and her 14-year old daughter circulated around the young girl’s school after one of the Snapchat photos was screengrabbed.
If all of this makes you think that you shouldn’t take Snapchat that seriously then you might change your mind when you hear that Facebook offered $3 billion to buy Snapchat earlier this year and the Snapchat founders turned down the offer as they think the app has more potential than the offer suggested.
The other bit of bad news for Snapchat and its users this week is Gibson Security have released some information that they say shows that it is possible for the phone numbers of the app’s alleged 50m users to be discovered. This of course could lead to sales to spamming operations as well as telemarketers.
Snapchat have now responded to the alleged loophole in their security and have said: ‘This week, on Christmas Eve, a security group posted documentation for our private API. This documentation included an allegation regarding a possible attack by which one could compile a database of Snapchat usernames and phone numbers.
Theoretically, if someone were able upload a huge set of phone numbers, like every number in an area code, or every possible number in the US, they could create a database of the results and match usernames to phone numbers that way. Over the past year we’ve implemented various safeguards to make it more difficult to do. We recently added additional counter-measures and continue to make improvements to combat spam and abuse.’