Sign up to our newsletter
Concerns over Snapchat privacy rocketed this week after users were bombarded with spam messages written in a style which suggests that a user’s own friends think they are fat, and that the only remedy is (of course) a suspect weight-loss tablet, according to a BBC report.
TechCrunch reports that users worldwide have been hit with spam attacks from friends, with messages formulated in terms such as, ‘This is great for weight loss – I thought you might like it.’
But tech news blog In the Capital says that the attacks are not an indication that Snapchat itself has been breached – instead multiple individuals seem to have had their accounts broken into using credentials stolen from other data breaches.
Snapchat confirmed this in a statement, saying, “We have seen evidence that hackers who have access to a trove of credentials leaked from other websites, have started using them to gain access to Snapchat accounts. In many instances, our defenses have notified the user that their account has been compromised.”
Snapchat suggested in a statement that users should use a ‘strong, unique’ password for the site.
Hacked accounts reportedly send a spam message suggesting that users are overweight to everyone in their contacts book. The message is reportedly only sent once, and users are usually rapidly notified that their account has been breached, according to the service’s statement on Snapchat privacy.
It’s not clear who is behind the attack.
TechCrunch said that the service’s response regarding Snapchat privacy showed a ‘cavalier’ attitude to security. The site says, “The app was not created, to the confusion of many, as a way of beefing up security on your messaging. Ephemerality, from the viewpoint of the Snapchat team, is about living in the moment, not about hiding your secrets.”
Snapchat has previously been the subject of controversy over its privacy policies, after users created apps and techniques for capturing the service’s ‘self-deleting’ messages.
Snapchat admitted that early statements about the level of privacy offered by the service had been worded in a misleading fashion earlier this year, in a settlement with the U.S. government’s FTC.
As reported by Yahoo News, Snapchat is to be monitored for privacy for the next 20 years by independent privacy professionals. Violations could lead to fines for the company.
Time Magazine pointed out that the app’s 4.6 million users had been misled into thinking that videos sent via the app could not easily be captured – whereas they could be seen simply by plugging a smartphone into a PC. Snapchat also violated its own privacy policies by tracking geolocation information for Android users.
In a blog post, the company said, “While we were focused on building, some things didn’t get the attention they could have. One of those was being more precise with how we communicated with the Snapchat community.”
360b / Shutterstock.com
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security