Snapchat, Facebook Poke Videos, Etc are no Substitute for a Secure Messaging System

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Many people have been getting into Snapchat, and to a lesser extent Facebook Poke recently. If you are unfamiliar we these apps, they simply give you a way to share a photo or video with someone else. However, the big appeal is that the picture or video disappears after 10 seconds. Recently, tests by the popular site Buzzfeed found that they were able to dig up some of these old videos by connecting their iPhone to a computer. Snapchat acknowledged the bug and said they will get a fix out as soon as possible. Facebook also acknowledged the issue, but did not state they would come up with a fix. Even after these bugs are fixed, I am sure someone else will be able to find another way around the 10 second limit at some point. Also, you never know how Snapchat and Facebook are storing these photos/videos on their end. It is quite possible they are all sitting in a database somewhere which opens up another possible set of issues.

This brings me to the point I would like to make: No matter how secure, private, or locked down you think an app or site may be, you need to be careful with what you are sharing online. There have been a ton of examples or someone letting a post or photo on Facebook, twitter, etc get out that cost them a job, cost them some money, or even just embarrassed them in front of their friends. I am not saying that you need to completely stop sharing online. However, whether you are sharing a funny picture or expressing your opinion, you should be giving it some thought up front.

When it comes to sharing, I personally make sure I am sharing stuff that I feel everyone is ok to see. If you are sharing stuff that you are trying to keep from others, you may be asking for trouble. There are safer ways to share stuff that you don’t want everyone to see. For example, you can always send an individual email. This is safer than relying on Facebook, twitter, etc to keep your photo private. The key word above is “safer”. There is still a small risk when sending an email. If it is something highly confidential, it may be best to find an offline way to share.

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