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Snapchat hacked – when corporate ineptitude compromises our safety

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At first glance, it might seem unwarranted to include the word “greed” and Snapchat in the same sentence, given that the video-based private messaging service turned down a whopping $3 billion buy-out offer late last year in 2013 from Facebook.

But of course, that’s only because they feel they’re worth much more than that. After all, Facebook, itself told Yahoo to shove its billion dollar offer years ago – and the majority owner today is worth something near $19 billion. The verdict is still out as to whether turning down this offer was a blunder on the part of Snapchat, but what is a clear blunder on their part is the recent hack of their site, which compromised the privacy of nearly 5 million users of the eponymous messaging service just this week.

Although security breaches aren’t terribly uncommon, nor should they be terribly surprising, Snapchat was alerted about this weakness in their system days ago by Gibson Security, but made no move to shore up the leaks in their system. A hacker group named DB Snapchat (discombobulated?) scooped millions of usernames and phone numbers and opened the New Year by posting them for everyone to see – calling into question the assertion by Snapchat that their auto-destruct system is sufficient to secure user identity.

Although the content of the any “snap chats” weren’t hacked and released, this reminds us wistfully of the days when we were told to avoid putting personal information online. Now, of course, the lifeblood of many companies depend precisely on the security risk of putting ourselves out there; because, after all, their clients need real people to market to.

Facebook – the chief architect ushering in this new age of digital sharing – may want to thank Snapchat’s pandering; it may have saved the premier social media network billions. Although Snapchat has thus-far enjoyed soaring popularity, the minute these so-called secret messages that auto-destruct are hacked (by a company that doesn’t have anywhere near Google or Facebook’s capital to adequately shore up its systems) and sweet nothings are released to the world, a mass exodus may begin.


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