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The Trouble with Snapchat
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The popular Snapchat app is in trouble, according to FoxNews.com. Gibson Security alerted the small but ever-growing company about a potential security risk on December twenty-fifth, but the company chose to ignore it. The same security company also issued an earlier alert in August, which was also dismissed casually by Snapchat. With the New Year arriving hackers “published 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers on snapshotdb.info.” Though the information isn’t as threatening as credit card numbers or social security, the phone numbers and names are a necessary element needed for identity theft. Snapchat has commented that they have devised “various safeguards” to protect its users, but they have failed to mention exactly what those safeguards are and have offered its clients the removal of their Snapchat account.  However, the information will still be out there for people to steal.

Snapchat’s twenty-three year old CEO Evan Spiegel has stated that a more secure version of the app will be available to the public, but the small company’s reputation has taken a solid hit.  Users looking to see if their information was linked can go to the Gibson security site – http.//lookup.gibsonsec.org. One of every two accounts appears to have been compromised. The leaked phone numbers continue to circulate. It is strongly advised that users change their phone numbers. Gibson stated, “. . . ensure that your security settings are up to scratch on your social media profiles. Be careful about what data you give away to sites when you sign up — if you don’t think a service requires your phone number, don’t give it to them.”

  
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The Los Angeles based company “has no source of revenue,” but has twenty million U.S. users who are now in a less than pleasant situation. The security breach has occurred only two weeks after the Target fiasco involving debit and credit card holders. Gibson reports that Snapchat has still not fixed or arranged the proper security precautions. Christopher Soghoian, a technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, stated, “The main problem was that they ignored a responsible report by security researchers” and that Snapchat has “demonstrated a cavalier attitude about privacy and security.” He went on to comment, “This probably won’t be the last problem with Snapchat” and the company “may be too small to pay bounties, but they certainly should be treating researchers with respect and addressing issues as soon as they are told about them.”

The simple truth is that Snapchat, being a little company and suddenly thrust into the negative spotlight, may not be able to handle such a significant stumble and their somewhat detached response to the situation is less than impressive.

Image Credit: Associated Press

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