Snapchat has run into some security related issues of late, most significant of which occurred when they were the victims of a cyber-attack that resulted in 4.6 million user’s details being published online. In response, Snapchat unveiled new security measures to their system earlier this week. Unfortunately, however, the following day it was deciphered by a hacker, who boasted that he got through it in under an hour.
The new security system was a new type of captcha, which they named ‘Snap-tcha.’ It was designed to prevent bots from accessing the system, where they harvest email addresses, phone numbers and other information. The system required people to click on an image of the site’s mascot, a ghost, before proceeding. Identifying specific areas within an image is extremely simple for humans to do, but can be much more difficult for a bot.
Hacker Steven Hickson, however, proved that it is not nearly as difficult as SnapChat believed. He used scripting technologies to discern the shape of the mascot with great accuracy, thus allowing bots easy access to the site.
This is just one of several security problems Snapchat is facing. A young hacker and app developer from Texas showed TechCrunch an exploit that had not yet been patched, even though the company had been aware of it. He commented about how the company’s approach to security is flawed, which is why they will continue to experience security problems.
SnapChat is not, of course, the only company that is dealing with difficulties related to online security. Multi-billion dollar companies like Target have experienced highly publicized hacks, as well as small privately owned websites. In the opinion of many, cyber security is one of the most important challenges being faced right now. Keeping the web safe, without infringing on privacy or limiting access, will be very difficult.
Share your thoughts on Snapchat’s security, or cyber security in general, in the comments below.