Snapchat Hacked For its Own Good?

snap

At the beginning of January, Snapchat suffered a public relations disaster. Nearly 4.6 million users had their information compromised and leaked all over the web, which made usernames and partial phone numbers available for download. However, the hackers in question are known as “white hat” hackers, or individuals who use their skill of cracking codes for good – these “white hat” hackers only wanted to alert users of Snapchat of the security issues with Snapchat.

The entire setup was meant to put pressure on Snapchat to tighten its security measures. These good guy hackers, who have remained anonymous, are reported to have used an exploit that was created by recent changes to the app. In a statement to a technology blog on the matter, the hackers report, “Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed. It is understandable that tech startups have limited resources but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does.” (2014, Gross)

Apparently, the hackers blurred out the last two digits of all of the phone numbers they released to preserve some sense of anonymity but were allegedly still considering whether to post more information with the entire number visible. At the end of the month, a new story broke about a teenager responsible for additional hacks into Snapchat’s database. Graham Smith is a 16-year-old from Texas who hacked the released numbers from earlier in the month to get in contact with Snapchat’s co-founder Bobby Murphy.

Smith had found a flaw in Snapchat’s security system while he had been reading their encryption code and tried to reach out to Snapchat to inform them of this issue. When he received no response, he took matters into his own hands and found Bobby Murphy’s cell phone number. Smith’s real fame has come as a result of the teen pointing out gaping holes in Snapchat’s security system that have stayed insecure since the hack in early January.

According to Smith, “I just want to make sure users are getting the end of the bargain, that their user information is safe.” (Strochlic) This concern for clientele confidentiality seems to be one that Snapchat is severely lacking. Just yesterday on February 12 a story was released detailing that Snapchat has once again been hacked, this time by a smoothie company that is spamming users.

When will Snapchat start to take the privacy concerns of their users seriously? If a sixteen-year-old can find flaws in their security system, they might need to reevaluate their priorities. Perhaps the art of snapping should follow the necessity of keeping sensitive information secure.

 

References

Gross, Doug. (2014). Millions of accounts compromised in Snapchat hack. Retrieved from:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/01/tech/social-media/snapchat-hack/

 

Strochlic, Nina. (2014). Meet Graham Smith, Snapchat’s 16-year-old nemesis. Retrieved from:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/29/meet-graham-smith-snapchat-s-16-year-old-nemesis.html

 

Whitney, Lance. (2014). Snapchat hack spams users with smoothie photos. Retried from:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57618782-83/snapchat-hack-spams-users-with-smoothie-photos/

Advertisements

laughs boost security

Security technology has advanced in great strides, but is not widely advertised.  I mean, how do make “security system” sound exciting?

 

When I think of the word Security, I think of safety, protection, and reassurance.

 

Princeton’s wordnet defines security system as “(computing) a system that enforces boundaries between computer networks.”

 

A recent campaign in Minneapolis made an excellent point:  Once a week, a paint crew was hoisted to repaint one side of a billboard from green to red and finally to blue.  The text on the ad reading: ‘“Paint Drying,” says text on the billboard. “Admittedly more interesting than explaining malware prevention.”’

 

I don’t know about you, but this sounds a little confusing to me. (Coming from someone who does not know too much about technology.)  It all sounds like something I need, but do not know much about.  It is such a serious topic, Security.  We use security software everyday on our laptops and PCs.  So how do I choose which company to use?

 

This is actually part of an ad campaign for Webroot, a malware company. After conducting a poll they realized that people didn’t want to hear all the technical jargon.  They wanted to know what they were getting from their security providers in plain and simple English.  Although this campaign is a little self- deprecating, it hit a strong chord with many individuals (such as myself) who tend to shy away or get scared of the fancy lingo normally associated with the product.

 

Many security companies have started adding humor to their advertisements.  This not only makes for an interesting advertisement, but it opens up the target audience for security software to a much broader audience.

 

Bitdefender, and anit-virus company has partner with Fredo&Pid’jin, a web comic known for it’s edgy humor.

 

Companies use security to protect themselves on a greater scale from thieves, or virus.  We even use security software through security systems in our homes, to protect out families and possessions.

 

Below is a video where a security technology from GE, take and interesting spin on a scene from the move Lassie.  This is the scene where Lassie and his young friend find themselves face to face with a cougar.  But don’t worry Kung Fu Fighting Lassie will protect you!

 

(r.d.) Retrieved from http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=security system

Newman, Andrew Adam. . Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/22/business/media/22adco.html?_r=0

Souza, Victor. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/bitdefender-taps-quirky-humor-fredo-pidjin-comic-experimental-advertising-project-1689318.htm

Funny Security Technologies Advertisement !!!!! ### Epic – YouTube. (2013, April 29). YouTube. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq7KbAqah1g

Link to Fredo & pid’jin comic : http://www.pidjin.net