The importance of mobile security and the Snapchat Scandal (Part 1)

The importance of mobile security and the Snapchat Scandal (Part 1)

In itself, the idea of Snapchat is already fairly scandalous – an app that allows pictures to be sent to someone else that then self destruct a short time after sending was always bound to attract voyeurs and exhibitionists, as well as the more innocent users that the Snapchat advertising seemed aimed at. However, the recent scandal involving the app related not to any risqué content that was being sent and received but to a successful hack that completely defeated the point of the app and presents a big threat to mobile security.

Snapchat is valued at around £540 million and this figure reflects how it has proved immensely popular as a new form of photo messaging that offers the security of image deletion. ‘Snaphack’ is an app that was put together by UK-based developer Darren Jones that saves images that have been sent through Snapchat and then allows them to be forwarded on and uploaded to social media sites like Twitter. Essentially, Snaphack defeats the entire purpose of Snapchat and puts all its users at risk of have their images shipped all around the internet. A previous hack of Snapchat – called ‘Snapsave’ did allow images to be saved and sent on, but would inform the sender when this had been done, whereas Snaphack did not do this.

Somewhat more ‘old school’, it is of course very easy to photograph the incriminating picture with user details and all, readying another device (perhaps even ‘a camera’) before pressing the ‘hit me with your bottom photo’ button.

According to Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro, “It absolutely undermines the security of Snapchat. If the fact that your photo has a limited lifetime is the one thing that gives you the comfort to send it, this news should put you off.” In support of this idea that the app is fatally flawed, the developer who made the Snaphack app said he did it only four weeks after first coming across Snapchat, demonstrating how easy it really is to breach the main security feature of the Snapchat app.

The hack of Snapchat illustrates just how careful mobile users need to be about mobile security and how 3rd party apps should be carefully considered before they are downloaded and used. In a mobile business context it is also worth considering infrastructure and security management – a product such as NetSure360, for example, could well help to prevent any security breaches resulting from an app hack such as this. NetSure360 makes it easy to carry out realtime simultaneous monitoring and management on thousands of devices from dozens of vendors and multiple network and security systems. This means businesses can ensure that they are protected against security threats and malicious activity 24-7. For more information on NetSure360 please see our website.