Snapchat will finally let users know if third-party apps are saving their pictures and videos

The update should help users know if they're being snooped on

Click to follow
The Independent Tech

Snapchat is growing up a little. Not only has CEO Evan Spiegel moved out of his dad’s house, but an update to the app will finally tell users if their photos have been captured by third-party software.

While the app has always notified users if a message’s recipient chooses to save it using their phone’s screenshot function, a whole range of unofficial apps can be used to secretly save every message and video that Snapchat handles.

Not only is this harmful to users, who may be sharing images under false assurances of privacy, but it undermines Snapchat’s own built-in security.

Last month, users of anonymous forum 4chan claimed to have ‘hacked’ more than 100,000 nudes from Snapchat users around the world. It transpired that the images had actually been stolen from a third-party desktop site (‘Snapsaved’) with far less secure protection than the app itself.

Although claims of a ‘vast cache’ of images turned out to be overblown (initial reports of ’13 gigabytes’ of stolen snaps were slimmed down to 500 megabytes - less than a twentieth of the size), incidents like this are still damaging to users.

In order to discourage individuals from signing up to potentially leaky third-party programs, Snapchat users will also be forcing anyone using third-party apps to change their passwords as a protection against getting hacked. If they don’t then their accounts will be locked.

"Repeat offenders may have their accounts locked permanently," Jill Hazelbaker, a Snapchat spokeswoman told CNN Money. Though users may ask, if these people are already saving messages without telling anyone, why not just block them to start with?