3 Tips to Protect Your Privacy on Snapchat
Popular messaging app Snapchat was reportedly hacked last week, allowing hackers to download and share thousands of private images and videos, some of which were graphic in nature.
Snapchat is an app that allows users to send each other pictures or videos that purportedly "disappear" after being opened by the intended recipient. This feature has made Snapchat popular with teens and other users who wish to share photos or videos that they would not want to be made public or seen by other than the intended recipient.
According to Newsweek, last week's hack of Snapchat -- dubbed by some "The Snappening" -- may have exposed up to 200,000 Snapchat messages, with those photos and videos quickly being shared on sites like 4chan and Reddit.
Previous Snapchat Data Breach
The breach is Snapchat's second in less than a year. In late 2013 the company announced that the account information of at least 4.6 million Snapchat accounts had been compromised, with hackers obtaining and posting the usernames, phone numbers, and other account information connected to Snapchat accounts.
The hackers who posted the data allegedly intended the attack as a warning to Snapchat to beef up the company's security, which given the most recent release of Snapchat user images, the company may still be working on.
Tips for Snapchat Privacy
What can users do to help protect their privacy when using Snapchat? Here are three tips:
- Don't send any messages you wouldn't want someone else to see. Although Snapchat is predicated on allowing users to share photos and videos with only the intended recipient, as shown through the latest hack, that may not always be the case. And even without hackers exposing user's images and videos, messages may be screenshotted or saved by recipients using other programs, meaning that your private Snapchat message may not be as private as you had hoped.
- Change passwords regularly. The same advice for any potentially sensitive online account applies to Snapchat: change your password regularly, and make it something that would be impossible to guess.
- Adjust your Snapchat privacy settings. Snapchat allows users to set their account to only receive photos or videos from those who have been added to a user's Snapchat friends list. This prevents strangers from being able to message you and potentially coax you into providing personal information or compromising photographs. In addition Snapchat allows users to block users who become a nuisance or who act suspiciously.
For more tips on maintaining privacy online and avoiding identity theft or the leak of personal information, check out FindLaw's Learn About the Law section on Online Safety.
- Hackers Access At Least 100,000 Snapchat Photos And Prepare To Leak Them, Including Underage Nude Pictures (Business Insider)
- Snapchat Privacy Settlement: What Users Need to Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Snapchat OKs Settlement With Ousted Co-Founder (FindLaw's Decided)
- 7 Simple Steps to Protect Your Online Privacy (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)