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Teen Discovers Popular App’s Major Security Flaws

snapchat banner imageGraham Smith, a 16-year-old from Dallas, TX, was a computer science nerd who taught himself coding and programming on his free time. One day, he decided to evaluate popular picture messaging app Snapchat’s code, and he found several flaws. After unsuccessfully contacting Snapchat regarding this flaw, Smith decided to put his knowledge to work. He used the hole in Snapchat’s code to find its founder Bobby Murphy’s cell phone directly, according to the Daily Beast. Smith then texted Murphy to show him how troublesome the security flaw was.

The Daily Beast reports that Snapchat responded to Smith’s notification of the hack by enabling bot-catching software (CAPTCHA) on the app. However, that was hacked within hours as well. Smith swears that he does not want to cause any harm to Snapchat, but rather help the widely popular company ensure its app is safe and secure.

Snapchat faced other security flaws when 4.5 million phone numbers were leaked by hackers in December. And according to the Daily Beast, Snapchat appeared reluctant to take important steps to secure user data then. Furthermore, the code used by hackers in December was pulling private phone numbers at a rate of 1,500 each minute.

Snapchat currently has an estimated 26 million users with around 400 million messages being received each day. 

Posted by Jamie Friedlander on Jan 29, 2014


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