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Snapchat Will Update Vulnerable App
Snapchat Will Update Vulnerable App

By Barry Levine
January 3, 2014 10:30AM

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While Snapchat is exclusively a consumer app, the age of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) could mean that consumer security issues are business security issues as well. Snapchat-like vulnerabilities are the underside of the BYOD proposition -- that companies allow employees to use the tools they want in order to be “maximally productive.”
 



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As SnapchatDB! has pointed out, people tend to employ the same usernames on various sites, so the usernames could probably be found on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere as well.

In its posting Thursday, Snapchat said it will be releasing an updated version of Find Friends that allows “Snapchatters to opt out of appearing in Find Friends after they have verified their phone number," and there will now be improvements to “rate limiting and other restrictions to address future attempts to abuse our service.”

The Underside of BYOD

Rate limiting sets limits to the numbers of usernames that can be obtained through this feature. The other restrictions are unspecified, and the timetable for the fixes was not announced. Additionally, the company posted an email address for security experts to post any newly discovered vulnerabilities.

Snapchat’s adventures in security issues follows the recent hacking of Microsoft’s Skype and the information theft of millions of credit cards from Target. While Snapchat is exclusively a consumer app, the age of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) could mean that consumer security issues are business security issues as well.

Charles King, an analyst with industry research film Pund-IT, told us that Snapchat-like vulnerabilities are the underside of the BYOD proposition -- that companies “allow employees to use the tools they want to,” in order to be “maximally productive.”

But that means the consumer or business tools are vulnerable. King said that if he ran an IT department, he “certainly would” be concerned about this issue, but that aside from educating employees about the vulnerabilities and cautioning them to be aware, the only long-term solution might be implementing separate business and personal workspaces on mobile devices, such as the solutions Blackberry and VMware offer.

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