Snapchat's Security Breach Exposes Broader Mobile Vulnerabilities

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SNAPCHAT SECURITY SNAFU: A team of hackers scraped over 4.6 million Snapchat user names, and the phone numbers associated with them, and dumped them onto a downloadable CSV file that was made freely available on the now-suspended website, SnapchatDB.

Responding to The Verge, the team of hackers behind the leak claimed that they took a white-hat approach to the situation. Their main goal was to raise public awareness of the potential vulnerabilities in Snapchat’s security, vulnerabilities that had been first been unearthed last week in a report by Gibson Security. The hackers were also motivated by Snapchat’s failure to fix this exposed hole. The SnapchatDB hackers claim they have no relation to Gibson Security.

SECURITY IS KEY: As we continue in 2014 to enter an increasingly mobile-centric world, a massive app privacy breach has to be worrying even for the casual mobile consumer.

More and more app platforms and services are coming into the forefront of mobile usage. Most of these apps typically onboard new user accounts with personal info via Facebook, or through an existing email account, each of which may contain sensitive, private user information.

While the Snapchat leak ultimately was a white-hat tactic, it exposes a broader vulnerability in consumer-facing apps that could be more blatantly exploited down the line. Going forward, app developers and engineers should prioritise security matters as much as any other aspect of their apps. As one SnapchatDB hacker told The Verge, “Security matters as much as user experience does.” (The Verge)

In other news…

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “But Google Glass is doomed. Why do I say that? Because the tech press tells me so.” – Tech evangelist, Robert Scoble.

Sony will potentially release its own version of a Windows Phone device sometime in 2014. (The Verge)

THE AGE OF THE UPGRADE: Josh Topolsky at The Verge discusses the progression of consumer device adoption in the U.S., claiming that most modern day American electronics consumers are now all early adopters with heavy expectations. (The Verge)

Here’s more evidence from app analytics company Distimo of a Christmas spike in app downloads from the iOS platform. (Distimo)

As its mainstream debut is nearing, Google is now pushing Google Glass to a new market of users besides developers who signed up for the original Explorer program. Now, any Google Music All Access user can secure a VIP invitation to the Google Glass Explorer program. (Gizmodo)

RE/CODE: Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher’s new tech-centric website has officially launched. (Recode)

MONDELEZ IS 2013’s MOBILE MARKETER OF THE YEAR: The snack food giant announced last year that it planned to spend 10% of its marketing on mobile exclusively and has since debuted a variety of mobile app, site, and advertising campaigns for its many brands. The CPG industry, in general, has lagged on mobile at times, and the company’s efforts prove the vertical’s suitability to the channel. (Mobile Marketer)

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