Snapchat blocks access to all third-party apps in bid to improve security

snapchat blocks access to all third party apps in bid improve security
Snapchat suffered a nasty surprise back in October when a third-party app that archived images and videos posted to the ephemeral messaging app suffered a security breach that allowed hackers to get their hands on masses of private Snapchat content.

It was a big embarrassment for the startup, even though its own servers were not hit in the attack. Since then, it’s been working on ways to make it more difficult for third-party apps to access its content, which include asking Apple and Google to remove offending software from their app stores.

This week, however, Snapchat said it’s now found a way of reliably blocking all third-party apps from accessing the messaging software’s data. In doing so, the LA-based startup hopes to reduce the chances of further difficult incidents down the road, while improving users’ security.

The move appears to be part of an ongoing effort by Snapchat to portray itself as a more serious and responsible enterprise as it continues to attract marketers and investors to its fast-expanding product.

Speaking to Backchannel recently, Snapchat executives admitted the company should’ve been more assertive in cracking down on third-party apps that let users archive content, an action that was in direct conflict with the app’s main feature and consequently violated its terms of service.

“We never wanted third-party apps on our platform,” Snapchat’s Tim Sehn told Backchannel. “We have created a product where it is more critically important than ever before that we control the end user experience. We’ve made commitments to our users.”

Transparency report

News that Snapchat has shored up its security coincided with the publication of details of its first ever transparency report, due out in July. Similar to reports put out by tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Google, Snapchat promises to detail government requests received for users’ account information, government demands to remove users’ content, and requests to remove content that violates copyright law.

In a preview of July’s report, Snapchat revealed it received 375 information requests from the U.S. government in connection with 666 accounts from November 1, 2014 through February 28 of this year. Outside of the U.S., it received just 28 requests for 35 accounts.

This week’s developments come at a time of rapid expansion for Snapchat. Besides growing its user base, which most commentators put at between 100 million and 200 million, the company has also increased its team from 35 to 200 in the space of a year, and built out its app with a slew of new features.

The startup continues to attract huge amounts of investment, too, including some $486 million in late 2014, and a reported $200 million just recently, from Chinese Internet giant Alibaba.

Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Mobile

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Gaming

Still have holiday cash to blow? Grab one of these awesome Xbox One games

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Apple

Rumors say Apple's AirPower wireless charger may finally be in production

At its September event in 2018, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Computing

Beam up the videos: AirPlay support is coming to VLC player

At CES 2019, the developers of VLC player announced they are adding support for Apple's Airplay feature, allowing consumers to beam video and other content from their iPhone and Android devices to an Apple TV. 
Mobile

Oppo could reveal a new smartphone with a 10x optical zoom

Cracking a solid zoom on smartphones has been a riddle many years in the solving. One company may have finally cracked it though: Oppo may be about to show off a phone with a 10x optical zoom.
Mobile

The LG G8 ThinQ may arrive at MWC 2019 with an on-screen speaker

LG is expected to release a successor to the LG G7 ThinQ, possibly called the LG G8 ThinQ, this year and rumors about it are already spreading. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Outdoors

Nike’s Adapt BB shoes let you tighten your laces with an iPhone

The new Nike Adapt BB shoe comes with smartphone connectivity that allows the user to tighten the laces using a smartphone while providing the ability to adjust tension throughout the game.
Wearables

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.
Mobile

If you're looking for a good laugh, here are 70 questions to ask Siri

Siri has come a long way since her first appearance on the iPhone 4S in 2011. We know she can make appointments and give directions, did you know she can make you laugh too? If you want proof, here are lots of funny questions to ask Siri.
Mobile

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.