Snapchat Photo Leak Raises Concern About Internet Privacy

Snapchat Photo Leak Raises Concern About Internet Privacy

Amanda Prescott

Contributing Writer

amanda42@umbc.edu

40,000 Snapchat photos were leaked and now Internet privacy concerns around the service are being raised

Selecting which platforms to store personal information on can be tricky. One bad decision could lead to personal information being leaked throughout the Internet.

The hacking of Apple’s iCloud, which led to personal pictures of celebrities being leaked on the Internet, proves that information stored on devices may not be as private and secure as previously thought.

Snapchat is an application that allows users to send pictures attached with messages and designate the amount of time friends can view the images before they disappear.

Last week, 40,000 photographs and videos taken by users and sent through Snapchat were leaked on the Internet by online hackers.

This is not the first time Snapchat has been criticized for the privacy of its users. In January, online hackers obtained the usernames and phone numbers of about 4.6 million Snapchat users.

A few months later, the Federal Trade Commission declared they would be monitoring Snapchat for the next 20 years upon allegations that it deceived users into believing that their photos taken through the application were permanently deleted after being sent.

With more critics questioning the security of Snapchat, the company continues to claim their servers are completely secure and the online hackers did not access the images through the application.

In a statement released to Forbes, Snapchat stated that users were, “victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our Terms of Use precisely because they compromise our users’ security.”

Upon further investigation, it was discovered SnapSaved, a third party application allowing users to download and save snapchat images, was the application hacked.

Third party applications are from external producers who are not the original manufacturer’s of the platform, but usually allow more benefits to the user.

“We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed,” Snapchat reported to Forbes on Friday.

However, the emergence of these third party applications increases the risk of privacy breaches and leakages of personal information.

Privacy continues to be a topic of concern as more people use the Web and applications to store or communicate their personal information.

Allowing applications to access your personal information may increase the quality of your online experience, but it is a decision associated with high risk.

Amanda Song, a sophomore biology major at UMBC, says, “Internet privacy is something that one should take precaution in fully trusting. More and more people are able to access your personal information, so it is important to be weary of where you store it.”

Using only verified applications from trustworthy companies will help ensure your privacy is protected on the Internet.

Online hackers have proven that privacy is no longer a guarantee in our technologically dependent society. The third party photo leak involving Snapchat is a strong reminder that applications may not be as secure or credible as they may appear.

Allowing applications to access personal information may improve the online experience of the user, but this decision certainly comes with a high risk of vulnerability. Selecting trustworthy applications to store personal information is crucial for the user to maintain Internet privacy.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/aaronkwittken/2014/10/13/is-the-the-snappening-an-opportunity-for-snapchat-to-chat-with-transparency/

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/hackers-private-photos-breaching-snapchats-servers/story?id=26156997

http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/13/snapsaved-takes-responsibility-for-latest-snapchat-leak/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/10/10/snapchat-hack-not-a-hoax-says-snappening-chronicler/

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27335255

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238084