Snapchat Retains Appeal Despite Vulnerabalities

Snapchat, technologyFacebook investors have new worries, as a new study is revealed showing that it is losing its popularity to messaging apps like twitter and Snapchat. Recent discoveries of vulnerabilities in Snapchat’s Android app has not been able to detour teens from switching to it.

A study revealed this month from Daniel Miller, a professor at University College London, showed that 16 to 18-year olds in the United Kingdom find the once popular Facebook to be too embarrassing to associate with. The study holds the influx of parents, grandparents and teachers as the culprit. Having become too mainstream, Facebook can no longer be considered as trendy. Teens that have kept their Facebook accounts are reported to be using it to stay in contact with family members as opposed to friends.

Earlier this year Facebook made Snapchat an offer to buy the company. Perhaps realizing that it is losing its fan base, Facebook offered its competitor $3 billion. The offer was rejected by Snapchat. Many find the rejection of Facebook’s offering bizarre for a company that has not made any profit off the services it offers.

Snapchat is new and fresh. With this app, teens are able to send pictures and videos which are then deleted seconds after they are opened by the recipient. It is Snapchat’s “ephemeral messages” which make it so appealing. Recent reveals about Snapchat’s app and its vulnerabilities have not succeeded in turning teens away from the app.

Snapchat users have recently discovered that the “here today, gone today” idea that has drawn thousands to Snapchat is actually a misconception. Though a Snapchat message is said to be deleted after opening, a recipient may take a screenshot of the message, making it a permanent file in the phone.

A Missouri mom is currently facing charges for child endangerment. She claims that her older daughter took the picture of her and her 14-year-old daughter topless in the hot tub. She instructed the girl to delete the image but instead it was circulated on Snapchat. Apparently one of the recipients of the message screenshot it, creating issues for the mother and her children.

Unfortunately for Snapchat, its “disappearing messages” cannot only be saved but can also be retrieved once deleted. Decipher Forensics, a company based in Utah, claims that for a fee of $300-$1500, it can recover deleted Snapchat images from a recipient’s phone. The process is said to be simple and can be done in a matter of hours.

There are claims that Snapchat is not taking Decipher Forensics seriously. Another company claiming to be ignored by Snapchat executives is Gibson Security. The freelance company states that it notified Snapchat four months ago of flaws in its security and privacy systems. Due to the fact Snapchat did not issue a response or fix the exploits, Gibson released the details to the media.

According to Gibson, the study it conducted revealed a weakness in the app’s system that would allow hackers to obtain user phone numbers and personal information to sell on a black market website.  It also found that storage and transmission of messages were not secure.

Despite news of vulnerabilities in Snapchat’s system, reports show that teens continue to enthrall in its appeal. The company has yet to release its statistics to the public. However, it is suggested that once released, the actual number of Snapchat users will floor its opponents. This may mark the demise of Facebook.

By Earnestine Jones



The Register

Business Insider