Hacked ‘iPhone Sexting App': Why Texting Naked Photos is a Bad Idea

| January 22, 2013 | 4 Replies
Hacked 'iPhone Sexting App': Texting Naked Photos is a Bad Idea

Hacked ‘iPhone Sexting App': Texting Naked Photos is a Bad Idea

Dominique Mosbergen
The Huffington Post

 

iPhone Sexting App May Not Be Secure As You Think…

There are a few good reasons why sending incriminating pictures, naked or otherwise, over the photo and video app Snapchat may not be such a great idea.

Other than concerns about bullying and underage sexting, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Snapchat messages, once thought to be super secure because of their extremely short lifespan, are not quite as fleeting as previously believed. In recent months, at least two security loopholes, which would allow recipients to save Snapchat images or clips for keeps, were discovered and made public. This week, a third Snapchat “hack” was revealed.

Touted as the “iPhone sexting app,” Snapchat — which, Forbes reports, is used mainly by young people between the ages of 13 and 24 — has been touted as a “consequence-free” photo- and video-sharing platform, allowing users to send files that self-destruct after 10 seconds or less, upon being opened by the recipient.

But this new Snapchat “hack,” unveiled by web designer and college student Raj Virand first reported on by TechCrunch, is said to allow users to “easily save screenshots of ‘snaps’ in a few simple steps, with no more than Snapchat and your multitasking bar.” These screenshots can apparently be taken secretly, without the sender finding out.

According to TechCrunch, this is how it works:

    • While viewing a SnapChat photo, take a screenshot by pressing the home and power button at the same time, while making sure to continue holding on the screen in order to ensure that the picture gets captured.
    • After taking the screenshot, the photo won’t show on the screen and you will be brought back to your list of snaps.
    • Before the photo expires, double tap the home button to bring up the multitasking bar. Once you’ve brought that up, SnapChat won’t recognize your screenshot.

 

To learn more about this “hack,” visit TechCrunch here.

Two months ago, Buzzfeed’s Katie Heaney pointed out that photos sent via the iPhone app could be easily retained by taking a screenshot of a “snap” before it self-destructs. However, Heaney noted at the time that the photo’s sender would be notified of the screenshot, though this could not prevent the recipient from saving the photo on his or her phone.

Then, in December, another Buzzfeed writer, Katie Notopoulos, found a security flaw in the app that makes it relatively easy for users to save received videos — and this time, Notopoulos explained, it can be achieved without the sender ever finding out. In short, the clips can be accessed using either iExplorer or iFunBox, then saved via temporary files stored on iPhones and other iOS devices. (The app’s Android version had a similar flaw that has since been fixed.)

After Notopoulos discovered Snapchat’s video-saving flaw, she asked Evan Spiegel, the app’s founder, if the company was aware of the loophole.

“The people who most enjoy using Snapchat are those who embrace the spirit and intent of the service. There will always be ways to reverse engineer technology products — but that spoils the fun,” he said.

Despite Snapchat’s obvious flaws, TechCrunch’s Rip Empson argues that impermanent messaging is likely here for the long haul.

“The ephemeral message is here to stay, whether a feature or a billion dollar business,” he writes, pointing out that Snapchat clones, such as the Facebook’s Poke app, are already cropping up.

Do you or would you ever use Snapchat? Are you concerned by this latest security loophole? Tell us in the comments below.

 



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