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a cybersecurity blog!
“My BFF Melissa, said she was like talking to Stacy, who like, knows this guy who is like cousins with that super dreamy guy Brian that I like kind of went out with the other weekend. And like this guy said Brian is going to ask me out again. OMG. I should like totally send him a naked picture of myself with Snapchat. There’s like, no way this could go horribly wrong.”
Somewhere, someone said or thought this. And it did indeed go horribly wrong. If you aren’t in the habit of sending saucy pictures over your mobile device, then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, so let’s back up.
Snapchat is a new app available for Android and iOS devices that allows users to snap a picture of themselves and send it to someone on a timer. Once time runs out (it has a maximum of 10 seconds), the app deletes the picture. Snapchat is marketed to teenagers and young adults who, tend to
poor life decisions send pictures they don’t want around forever. The idea,
of course, is to allow users to send naughty pictures without the risk that
they’ll be posted on r/gonewild the next day.
As you may have realized by now, this app is the worst idea since black highlighters.
Although Snapchat does indeed delete images after the set amount of time (though the company has issued a disclaimer that basically says “no promises”), there is absolutely nothing stopping the recipient from simply taking a screenshot or using a camera once the picture is on the screen. If a screenshot is taken, Snapchat will alert the sender. But at that point, it’s a little late, and obviously there is no warning should the receiver use a camera to take a picture of the screen.
Look, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with two consenting adults sending each other risqué self-portraits. If you trust one another and understand the risks, by all means, go crazy*. Unfortunately, Snapchat is the kind of app that tries to lull users into a very false sense of security.
Actual security measures like a good VPN are great for a lot of things and will go a long way to keep your private information safe, but in some cases, nothing replaces good old-fashioned common sense.
*For the love of God, use a VPN like SumRando if you intend to send sexy pictures. Our encryption software will make sure only those you intend see your private (literally) information.