Blackberry has introduced ephemeral messaging to its BBM messaging app. This feature allows its users to set a timer for how long shared messages and pictures can be viewed. Does this feature remind you of anything?
The incident dubbed the “Snappening,” in which up to 200,000 Snapchat images were leaked, has been widely reported by the media. The third-party app Snapsaved has taken responsibility for being hacked and has stated that Snapchat itself was not hacked. Snapchat confirmed this in a blog post, stating “We are grateful that the service provider acknowledged that Snapchat was never compromised,” a reference to the statement made by Snapsaved.
Snapchat also made the following statement at the end of their post: “We’ll continue to do our part by improving Snapchat’s security and calling on Apple and Google to take down third-party applications that access our API. You can help us out by avoiding the use of third-party applications.”
The question we should be asking ourselves is Continue reading Is the Snapchat Model Fundamentally Broken?
Facebook is testing yet another feature that allows users to set a time for their status updates to disappear after a certain period of time. The feature is currently only available for certain people using the iOS app. Unlike Snapchat, which allows users to set a time limit of only up to 10 seconds for a photo, this new Facebook feature has a range of 1 hour to 7 days.
As Schneier argues, ephemeral messaging is very hard to get right. Thus, until we see evidence to the contrary, I would treat this new feature with as much skepticism as similar apps like Snapchat. This isn’t to say that ephemerality is inherently bad. The article does point out that “We need ephemeral apps, but we need credible assurances from the companies that they are actually secure and credible assurances from the government that they won’t be subverted.”
Until we do have secure ephemeral messaging, the best way to keep private information private is probably to refrain from posting or sending it in the first place. In the meantime, regardless of the security of ephemeral messaging, some messages just shouldn’t be posted at all. For example, unless you absolutely trust everyone on your friend list, a status update such as “I’m heading to Italy for a 2 week vacation” could be an invitation to burglarize your home. Does it matter that such a message disappears after 1 hour? The cat’s already out of the bag.
The “Secret” app is supposed to allow people to share their secrets with friends, friends of friends, and the public. Clearly, if secrets are being shared, they are no longer secret within the group to which it was revealed. However, the app claims to keep the identity of the sharer secret. According to founder David Mark Byttow, “You know who’s on the guest list, but you don’t know who is saying what.” But just how secret are posters’ identities? Continue reading 42 Vulnerabilities Found in “Secret” App So Far