Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Apple/Mac
DDoS Protection Powered By Verisign
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Snapchat Attack Can Freeze, Crash iPhones

Snapchat Attack Can Freeze, Crash iPhones
By Jennifer LeClaire

Share
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Share on Google Plus

It's not surprising that there was another flaw discovered in Snapchat -- this one affecting the iPhone -- because the company’s attitude toward security is more reactive than proactive. Until there's a fix for the Snapchat issue that affects iPhones, users should check their privacy settings and not accept Snaps from users who are not their friends.
 


Snapchat is still vulnerable to hackers -- and that could mean bad news for iPhone users. Jamie Sanchez, a security researcher who first discovered the flaw in the popular picture messaging app, said Snapchat opens the iPhone up to denial-of-service attacks that can cause the device to freeze and crash.

“Snapchat uses security tokens for authentication,” he wrote in a blog post. “Security tokens are used to prove one's identity electronically, in place of a password, to prove that the customer is who they claim to be, so they don't have to exchange the original password that may be captured by attackers.”

As Sanchez explained it, a token is created any time you make a request to Snapchat to update your contact list, add someone, send a snap, etc. The “request token” is based on your password and a timestamp, among other things. The problem is that the tokens don’t expire like they should.

Android Not Immune

“I've been using for the attack one token create almost one month ago. So, I'm able to use a custom script I've created to send snaps to a list of users from several computers at the same time,” Sanchez said. “That could let an attacker send spam to the 4.6 million leaked account list in less then one hour.”

But that’s not the only problem. According to Sanchez, any attacker could just send all the snaps to one user only as a denial of service attack. That could crash the iPhone and force a restart to free the phone from the attacker’s grip. Apparently, the attack only crashes on iPhones -- not Android-powered devices. But Sanchez said the attack does slow down Android phones to the point where it’s impossible to use the device until the attack is over.

Sanchez does have some good news: If you have friends-only settings, and the attacker is not in your friend list, it shouldn't affect you.

Irresponsible Disclosure

We caught up with Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at Sophos, to get his take on the Snapchat issue. He told us he’s not surprised there was another flaw discovered in Snapchat seeing as the company’s attitude toward security seems to be more reactive than proactive. But Wisniewski takes exception to how Sanchez handled the disclosure.

“Yes, it is never fair to publicly disclose flaws without giving the company the opportunity to respond,” Wisniewski said. “It is imperative that zero-day vulnerabilities in applications are handled carefully and respectfully if you want to consider yourself a researcher rather than an anarchist. Public disclosure without notification leads to innocent people being harmed and generally does not achieve anything positive for the user nor the security community.”

As Wisniewski sees it, the fix for Snapchat should be reasonably simple -- but it may require an update to its phone applications, which may take a bit of time to test and get approved by the application markets. He advised Snapchat users to check their privacy settings and not accept Snaps from users who are not their friends and not to blindly accept new friend requests.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.


 Apple/Mac
1.   Popular Mailbox App Comes to Mac
2.   Apple Opens China iCloud Data Center
3.   Android Crushing Smartphone Rivals
4.   Apple Bans Toxic Factory Chemicals
5.   Apple's Workforce Mostly White, Male


advertisement
New App To Manage Time Better
Helping to organize your busy life.
Average Rating:
Popular Mailbox App Comes to Mac
Takes to-do list approach to the inbox.
Average Rating:
Apple Bans Toxic Factory Chemicals
Cleans up China production of iPhones.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Chinese Hackers Nab Info on Millions of U.S. Patients
A group of Chinese hackers has stolen the personal information, including names and Social Security numbers, of about 4.5 million patients at hospitals operated by Community Health Systems.
 
Premier FBI Cybersquad in U.S. To Add Agents
After helping prosecutors charge Chinese army officials with stealing trade secrets from major companies and by snaring a Russian-led hacking ring, the premier FBI cyber-squad is getting a boost.
 
Apple Opens iCloud Data Center in China
Treading lightly, Apple acknowledged it has started to store encrypted iCloud personal data of some Chinese users on servers in mainland China, operated by the state-owned China Telecom.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Compression, Deduplication Come to Violin Concerto 2200
Violin Memory has announced that data deduplication and compression capabilities are now available on its Concerto 2200 solution. Typically, users will experience deduplication rates between 6:1 and 10:1.
 
Cisco Axes 6,000 Employees in Restructuring Plan
Faced with declining profits, Cisco is laying off up to 6,000 employees in the months ahead -- a whopping 8 percent of its global workforce. That's in addition to the 4,000 jobs Cisco cut last year.
 
Web Slows, Have Internet Routers Reached The Limit?
If you encountered problems connecting to the Internet on August 12, you weren't alone. Networking experts blame the wide-scale slowdown on outdated routing systems that are reaching their limits.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
HTC Debuts Windows Phone Version of One M8 Smartphone
HTC is bringing the Windows Phone mobile OS to its flagship One M8 device -- the first time any mainstream flagship smartphone has been offered with a choice of operating systems.
 
Verizon Earns Top Rating in Mobile Network Comparison
A new report says Verizon Wireless was the top-performing U.S. cellphone service provider in the first half of 2014, on a nationwide and state-by-state basis, as well as in metro areas.
 
Sprint Comes Out with Data Guns Blazing
As its new CEO promised, Sprint has rolled out a new aggressively competitive price plan. The shared data plans promise twice the high-speed data and at lower prices than AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.