What We Learned From Snapchat’s Latest Smoothie Hack
The latest, and definitely one of the strangest, Snapchat hack has been sending pictures of smoothies from compromised accounts to entire friend lists. The image of smoothies are overlaid with text directing friends to visit the website “snapfroot.com.” From snapfroot.com, the user is automatically redirected to allrecipes.com, where actual smoothie recipes are listed.
The hack is on the heels of a recent hack that released the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat users.
Let’s take a look at the three things we learned from Snapchat’s latest hack:
- Snapchat needs to figure its security out
- Snapchat users need more secure passwords
- Snapchat has a legitimate monetization route
1. For a company that prides itself on the privacy of the images shared between users, it tees itself up as the perfect hacker’s challenge. If Snapchat doesn’t improve its security fast, someone else will, and offers like Facebook’s for $3 Billion will be gladly accepted by the first app to do so.
2. While Snapchat works to fix its security, users can provide a layer of defence from such hacks by improving their passwords. According to a spokesperson for Snapchat who spoke to wired.com, the smoothie hack was generally successful if and only if the hack guessed the user’s password on its first try. In order to prevent this from happening to you, consider resetting your password. Passwords that include upper case and lower case letters with numbers and symbols protect users better than simple passwords that include first names or pet’s name. Many of the hacking techniques use brute force, where hackers choose common combinations of words until they guess correctly. The words are usually selected from information gathered about you from around the net. Using a password with an uppercase letter or symbol, exponentially increases the amount of attempts required before a bot guesses your password. As a result, hacking bots are more likely to pass up on your account.
3. If anything positive came out of this hack it is that it proves that Snapchat has a legitimate route to monetization. Periodic messages sent to user’s phones from Team Snapchat exemplify that Snapchat can access millions with the swipe of a finger. What if, instead of recipes for smoothies, the message referred to the launch of a new product? This is the perfect opportunity for Snapchat to study the effects of the hack as a potential opportunity to monetize in the near future using the same tactics.
For now, here is to hoping that the next time we read about Snapchat it doesn’t involve a hack.
Thanks eveybody I'm definitely visiting snapfroot pic.twitter.com/vfio4vBJha
— dan jacovelli (@danjacovelli) February 12, 2014