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February 25 2014


February 24 2014

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February 20 2014


February 19 2014


February 15 2014


February 14 2014

A Modest Proposal
Secrets“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” And all seem to be doing it about the new class of apps that rest on the premise of anonymity and/or ephemerality.

February 12 2014

Snapchat Hacked By Fruit Smoothie Enthusiast
run-by-frootingIf one of your friends randomly sends you a photo of a smoothie on Snapchat, don't go to the URL on the picture. It's a hack that has affected several accounts, as a Twitter search shows. Wired writer Joe Brown was one of the users who suffered a Snapchat fruiting. A Snapchat spokesperson told him that the startup did not see any evidence of "brute-force tactics," and that someone had likely gotten ahold of his email and password and accessed his account on the first try. We've emailed Snapchat for more information.

The spam looks like this (once again, don't go to the URL).

February 11 2014

Snapchat Wins ‘Best Mobile Application’ At The 2013 Crunchies, Award Disappears In 10 Seconds
IMG_9916This year’s best mobile app is Snapchat, at least according to the 2013 Crunchies Awards. The ephemeral photo and video messaging app beat out a tough crowd this year, including Mailbox, Tinder, VSCO Cam and WhatsApp. This is Snapchat’s second Crunchie, since it won fastest rising startup last year for its speedy early user growth. Snapchat began in 2011 at Stanford, and the service took off, finding purchase not just among the usual early adopter crowd, but also with mainstream users. Snapchat was reportedly sending 400 million messages per day as of November, which is 8 times the volume of snaps that were being sent as of the end of 2012, when it won its fastest riser award at our show. Co-founder Evan Spiegel accepted the award for the startup from TechCrunch writer Greg Kumparak, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Yahoo SVP of Mobile and Emerging Products Adam Cahan. The winner last year was Google Maps, which vaulted into the top spot based on its long-awaited release on iOS after it was removed from the default set of pre-installed applications by Apple in iOS 6. Snapchat has indeed won the moment, and is riding high enough that Spiegel famously turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook for the app. So far, it seems like it’ll accrue a lot more than just 10 seconds of fame before it flames out, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plans to mature as a business from here.

February 07 2014

Newly Discovered Snapchat Weakness Could Allow Hackers To Crash Your Phone
snapchatWith great power comes great responsibility, and as Snapchat continues to grow rapidly, security researchers grow increasingly interested in the security of the platform. Security researcher Jamie Sanchez has today exposed a vulnerability within Snapchat that opens up the app to a denial-of-service attack. By overloading an inbox with messages, hackers can freeze and crash the iPhone, requiring the user to reset their device. For Android devices, the attack doesn't crash the device, but does make it noticeably slower, according to the Los Angeles Times.

February 04 2014

Confide Raises $1.9 Million In Seed Funding To Bring Disappearing Messages To Enterprise Users
confide messagesIt's been just a month since we first heard about Confide, the confidential messaging app designed for professionals. But already the app has drawn a lot of interest (and cash) from the very people it was made for -- investors, entrepreneurs, and media professionals who don't want their backchannel communications to be leaked.

January 29 2014

Zuck Is Finally Ready To Fight Snapchat
zuck-2-21In the first earnings call since Evan Spiegel rejected Zuck's $3 billion offer to buy Snapchat, the Facebook CEO sent a very clear signal to competitors. "Our vision is to create a set of products that let our users share with any audience they want," said Zuck. "Not everyone wants to share with all of their friends at once. A lot of the new growth we see is from giving people power to share with different, separate groups of people." Three products, in particular, help Facebook achieve that vision: Messenger, Instagram, and Groups.
Trouble With Teens Could Trip Up Today’s Facebook Earnings
Facebook Bored TeensWhen Facebook mentioned "a decrease in daily users specifically among younger teens" in last quarter's earnings call, its share price fell from $57.98 in after-hours to open the next day at $47.16, eliminating tens of billions of dollars in value accrued from strong financials. How will investors react if today's Q4 2013 earnings see Facebook admit a more serious decline amongst youngsters?
Google Has Removed Multiple Third-Party Snapchat Apps From Its Play Store
SnapChat on Google PlayMultiple third party Snapchat photo-saver apps built for the Android platform have recently been taken down from Google's Play Store, with Mountain View citing some very broad developer T&C violations to explain the ejections.

January 28 2014

Snapchat Goes Down For 30 Minutes
snapchatSnapchat, the disappearing photo-sharing app that took 2013 by storm, seems to be down. According to reports on Twitter, the service is sending snaps, but not delivering them to the end recipient.

January 26 2014

The Secrets To Snapchat’s Success: Connectivity, Easy Media Creation, And Ephemerality
Snapchat-Evan-SpiegelSnapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has been known to be pretty quiet when it comes to sharing secrets about how the company works, but today he provided a little more transparency around its mission and how it thinks about the communications that users send through the app.

January 22 2014

Snapchat Makes You “Find The Ghosts” To Keep Hackers From Stealing Your Phone Number
SnaptchaSnapchat now verifies new users aren't robots by making them choose its ghost mascot in images. It's an attempt to keep out hackers who could steal phone numbers by exploiting a leaked database of details on 4.6 million accounts. A 16-year-old hacker proved he could do just that by finding the number of Snapchat CTO Bobby Murphy, but now he says Snapchat has patched the holes he harnessed.

January 15 2014

Zuckerberg Calls Snapchat A “Privacy Phenomenon”
Mark Zuckerberg thinks Facebook’s innoved by creating a place where people could share what wasn’t shared before, which is also why he thinks Snapchat is important. Today in a low-profile talk at Stanford alongside discussions of the NSA and venture capital's shortcomings, Zuckerberg said “Snapchat is a super interesting privacy phenomenon."

January 09 2014

Snapchat Finally Says Sorry For December Data Breach, Updates Android & iOS Apps With Find Friends Opt-Out
snapchat_uhohIt's taken some sound and fury but Snapchat has finally said sorry for its December data breach which saw 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers leaked. It's also updated its apps to include an opt-out of the feature that harvests the leaked data.

January 05 2014

Facebook Without The Cool Kids
imageIt's not just an attractive advertising demographic that Facebook is losing as teens take their mercurial attention elsewhere in sullen search of what's cool. Facebook sans the cool kids may well be taking a substantial knock to the accuracy of its data too.

January 01 2014

Hackers Claim To Publish List Of 4.6M Snapchat Usernames And Numbers
snapchatDB screenshotA site called claims that they’ve saved usernames and phone numbers for 4.6 million accounts and made the information available for download. SnapchatDB says that it got the information through a recently identified and patched Snapchat exploit and that it is making the data available in an effort to convince the messaging app to beef up its security. We’ve reached out to Snapchat and SnapchatDB for comment. SnapchatDB said it “censored the last two digits of the phone numbers” in order to “minimize spam and abuse,” but that it still might release the unfiltered data, including millions of phone numbers. The Next Web did a WHOIS lookup on SnapchatDB’s domain and found it was created just yesterday on December 31. The registrant’s name is protected, but its mailing address and contact number are both listed in Panama. The site appears to have been created in response to recently identified flaws in Snapchat’s security. Last week, ZDNet published an article on how white-hat Gibson Security researchers had tried to alert Snapchat to ways that hackers would connect usernames to phone numbers for user in stalking, but were ignored. Gibson Security then published the exploit publicly on Christmas Eve. The firm said that hackers could use two exploits to gain access to users’ personal data, including their real names, usernames and phone numbers, through Snapchat’s Android and iOS API. Snapchat did offer a public statement, but as TechCrunch’s Josh Constine wrote, it wasn’t very satisfactory because it did not offer details on how its countermeasures would work, such as rate limiting, bad IP blocking, or automated systems that scan suspicious activity. Snapchat said: “Theoretically, if someone were able to upload a huge set of phone numbers, like every number in an area code, or every possible number in the U.S., they could create a database of the results and match usernames to phone numbers that way. Over the past year we’ve implemented various safeguards to make it more difficult to do.” To be sure, SnapchatDB might be a prank meant to call attention to these issues. On Hacker News, several people have had trouble downloading the data files (I just got an error message for both of them, but that may be because of high traffic). Some commenters who did manage to get ahold of the files said they couldn’t find their own numbers in the lists and entire area codes
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