Randomness (r_ness) wrote,
Randomness
r_ness

They probably should have taken the $3 billion and run.

Back in November, the Wall Street Journal reported that Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat, turned down a $3 billion cash buyout offer from Facebook. Not bad for a two-year-old company with no revenue.

Evidently he figured he could get more money from someone else. This despite Snapchat's known security flaws, which Australian security researchers Gibson Security published last August.

On Christmas (local time), Gibson Security followed up with more details, including the fact that Snapchat had done nothing to fix the security hole.

On New Year's Day, someone took advantage of Snapchat's inaction and uploaded 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and the phone numbers that matched them, with the last two digits of the phone numbers deleted.

The Washington Post quoted Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union:
“The main problem was that they ignored a responsible report by security researchers,” he said, adding that his concern is not with the specific database of information that was released, but that Snapchat has “demonstrated a cavalier attitude about privacy and security.”
Given that the whole idea behind Snapchat is that it offers a way to share private images and messages with friends, which then expire so they can't be shared publically, this is probably a bad attitude to have. (Even beyond the fact that the privacy Snapchat offers is illusory.)

ETA: Computerworld quotes a couple of analysts who think this won't matter because teenagers don't understand security and don't care:
However, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said that since the majority of Snapchat's users are teenagers, the breach might not be a permanent problem for the company.

"While this hack doesn't provide a monetary loss, it is an invasion of privacy, which is disturbing since so many of its users are teenagers," Moorhead said. "Teenagers, in particular, are undaunted by security issues like this. If images or videos were leaked, however, it could be catastrophic for Snapchat."

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said his own teenagers hadn't heard about the hack and weren't concerned when he told them about it.

"They don't care," he said. "The concept of the threat is really something they don't understand.
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