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Users Now Told When Third Parties Screenshot Their Snaps

Snapchat Fights Back Hack Attack Flack

Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app that people more popular than me use to share scantily clad images and videos, has always been plagued by third party add-ons taking screenshots without people’s knowledge. Today, an update has been released that will inform its users when a screenshot is taken from one of these sources, which should improve the app's security hugely.
Snapchat takes pride in its security, and has always assured us above all else that content truly is obliterated after being viewed. They never claimed to be able to stop people taking screenshots; they just told us when it happened. Third party apps were able to bypass Snapchat’s detection software and store content without senders’ knowledge or consent. Although this somewhat interfered with Snapchat's key unique selling point, people were happy to accept that they should only send sensitive content (naked pictures an' that) to people whom they truly trusted.

Last month, though, Snapchat was thrown into some hot water due to apparent hacking scandals. In the end, it turned out it wasn’t their fault at all. Not really, anyway. 4chan, predictably, decided to become the centre of attention and claim they were in control of the nudes of more than 100,000 people around the world, and said these pictures had been taken directly from Snapchat's servers. In the end, it turned out that their apparent 13 gigabytes of content actually totalled only around 500 megabytes, and these were taken from a third party app called Snapsaved instead of Snapchat's own servers.

Snapchat dodged another bullet, but people began to realise that it needed to take more responsibility for itself and put extra effort into eradicating the problems caused by third party, unlicensed apps.They initially appeared to sweep things under the carpet, but things have finally improved with today's update. As well as introducing new features that inform people when their content has been screenshotted by a third party app, Snapchat will introduce a change to its TOS that mean that anyone found using one of these apps will be forced to change their password in an effort to curb any future hacks.
Jill Hazelbaker, a Snapchat spokesperson, said the following in an interview with CNN Money: “Repeat offenders may have their accounts locked permanently.” Snapchat now inform you when anything you send has been captured by third party software. They know when you're using it yourself, and will make you change your password when they detect it. They've even threatened so-called ‘repeat offenders’ that their accounts can be blocked forever.

It all begs the question: why not just flat-out ban users of third party apps and save everyone some time?


Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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Users Now Told When Third Parties Screenshot Their Snaps Reviewed by Emile Cole on Friday, November 14, 2014 Rating: 5
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