Scam of the day – October 14, 2014 – Snapchat hacked in “the Snappening”

After days of rumors, it was confirmed that Snapchat, the mobile app used for transmitting photos and videos that purport to self-destruct after viewing was the victim of a hacking in which approximately 90,000 photographs and 9,000 videos were stolen.  Reports indicate that this hacking may have been going on for years.  The stolen videos and photos were originally posted on the website viralpop.com which has now been taken down.  The material was later posted on Reddit and also 4chan, the website where the recent celebrity iCloud hacked photos first appeared.  The hacking appears not to have been a direct hack of Snapchat itself, but rather from SnapSaved.com a third party app used to save Snapchat photos and videos.  Particularly troublesome about this hacking is the fact that about half of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13 and 17, making nude photos and videos of these Snapchat users child pornography.

TIPS

Although Snapchat does not appear to be implicated in this data breach, it does not have a great history of protecting the privacy of its users as evidenced by a privacy complaint brought by the FCC which was later settled.  This incident does, once again, emphasize the dangers of downloading apps from non-legitimate app stores instead of the established app stores such as iTunes or GooglePlay.  It also highlights the need for people to remember that their privacy is only as secure as the weakest places that hold their information, photos or other material.  Nothing is fool proof.

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