Snapchat exploit may expose everyone’s phone number and social profile addys

Just read this article at ars technica about a snapchat exploit that may allow people to expose all the phone numbers and social profiles of every snapchat user. It is assumed that people will buy and sell this data, and that sites will crop up and offer to expose your phone number and social profiles (I’m guessing your facebook url, twitter handle, etc), some for a fee to those who want to stalk you. If everything stated in this article is true (so far appears to be all legit) – then it may be time to cancel your snapchat account until this issue is addressed.

Over the past year or more snapchat has gotten wildly popular, and there have been other stories about people finding methods for saving the pictures that are suppose to self destruct. While there are and always will be many methods of saving self destructing pictures from any service, this latest exploit is a big issue for privacy beyond just the person you sent a naughty photo to being able to save a copy. This latest exploit may make it possible for anyone to find your snapchat info, and connect it with other info that you may not have wanted to share with anyone, much less everyone on the internet.

We have been looking into various types of security measures for handling chat in more secure ways for some time now. Recent revelations in the news about spying and such has opened up a lot of conversations around the world about security and privacy, and how there are so many weak links in this chain of global communication. Even the trusted encryption methods for scrambling messages so others can not eavesdrop on them are being called into question these days. This is main reason that we have not been quick to roll out a new more private chat system, as we want to be sure that anything we come out with is as secure as possible, and we are transparent about risks.

Some people believe that snapchat and similar services are a secure way to share naughty pics that will be deleted forever in a short period of time. The first few times you use these services, it certainly gives you the appearance of security and alleviate the worries associated with sharing racy content on the web, or with others. Unfortunately I think many people will not realize that there really is no way to share a picture or video and know for sure that it has bot been copied, saved, and possibly shared with others, and there will probably never be.

I like the idea of snapchat, and look forward to services like these continuing to develop, as it shows that there is a need for people to think more about privacy, and that people want to use some social communication tools in ways that are not auto-copied and shared forever, facebook does this (as do many other services), facebook even saves copies and analyzes things you start to type, but do not “publish” come to find out. Your phone company and ISP are probably saving copies of every you do and have done as well. I myself have spoken with the various providers I use to inquire about their data retention policies, and complain about it, and I am switching some of my providers based upon their decisions to use my data in ways that I feel I certainly shouldn’t be paying them for.

Security is one of the reasons we highly discourage people from openly asking for skype information, as there have been easy exploits in which people use your skype account info to gain access to other accounts and stalk your and your information in ways that have blown me away. It is still more private and safe to use our peeps cams chat portal to do audio or video chat than it is to use skype, or some of those other corporate tainted services.

We have been paying attention to the fact that many people prefer privacy, we have worked hard to make things secure around here, and to be as transparent as possible about everything we do. We will continue to work on better systems for sharing, while taking into account that privacy and security are very important to us, and most of our visitors. We will continue to fight for what’s right, and have avoiding taking the easy way out so many times I have lost count. Maybe our next post will be about ‘not taking the easy way out’ – the things that have cost us tons of time in an effort to not sacrifice user privacy in the name of easier addons here.

One Comment:

  1. Thanks Nash for making everyone aware of the privacy issues we encounter on the web!

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