Insider Threat Management

Snapchatters: Your Photos are Floating Around Cyberspace

Nearly 200,000 Snapchat user photos are being held hostage by hackers, and with some of the photos already released, hackers are threatening to release them all.

“The Snappening”

snapchat hack

Snapchat, a widely popular app used to send photos, videos and messages between smartphone users, is facing a hacking crisis.  The app’s main appeal is each photo/video/message can only be viewed once, ever, and then the content will supposedly disappearforever.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be the case.

The hack didn’t stem from Snapchat negligence, but rather third a party source that offer users the ability to save Snapchats.  The source that allegedly is the source of the hack is the webiste snapsaved.com.  Snapsaved.com is not affiliated with Snapchat, however, the site’s ability to save Snapchat user photos is resulting in a massive panic.

Many smartphone users utilize Snapchat to send pictures and videos to other smartphone users.  Although most of these users use Snapchat to send lighthearted and funny pictures to each other, many use it in a significantly more “flirtatious” nature.  Parents of users between the ages of 13 and 17 are especially concerned given that some of the initially released photographs could be classified as child pornography.

Snapsaved.com admitted to the hack on Saturday posting on Facebook, “Snapsaved.com was hacked… We had a misconfiguration in our Apache server.  Snapchat has not been hacked and these images do not originate from their database.”  Yet, this apology made by Snapsaved.com is coming under fire.  An anonymous user posted on the popular hacker site Pastebin that a Snapsaved.com administrator provided the leaked content to hackers.

Data Trails Last Forever

Snapchat’s largest lure as an app is the idea that the content sent and received can only be seen once and then it is gone, forever.  Yet, as this hack proves, it can be impossible to make data disappear forever.

Companies should see the Snapchat hack as a place to learn a valuable lesson.  Stored data is just as important as new data, and data perceived to be non-existent or not important can lead to massive data breaches.

Take for example Butler University.  Earlier this year the university suffered a data breach including data from 1983.  Think about that, 1983.  That is over 30 years ago, and in 2014 Butler University had to deal with notifying numerous people of their data breach.  Many of these people applied and didn’t even get into the school!

Third Parties Are “Data DANGEROUS”

Sure, Snapchat isn’t affiliated with neither Snapsave nor snapsaved.com, however, both of these third parties’ actions could result in massive legal issues for Snapchat.

Most organizations are affiliated with their third parties, which gives them a perfect opportunity to monitor their actions.  Third-party vendor monitoring is rapidly becoming a major concern for organizations, and User Activity Monitoring is a brilliant solution.  By monitoring third parties, organizations can better protect themselves from data breaches especially when it comes to exploited user credentials.

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