A couple of days ago it was discovered that hackers managed to intercept some explicit images that were sent through Snapchat, a social media messaging app very popular with teenagers aged 13 to 17. Snapchat users send photos and videos between contacts for a temporary period of time before they are automatically deleted. The Hackers proceeded to post the intercepted images online.
What is interesting about this particular scandal is that Snapchat officials claim that their “security was never breached”. Apparently the hackers managed to intercept the photos through third party apps that can retrieve data as it is sent to Snapchat. Third party apps can look extremely official and even carry the same theme as the app that they are trying to associate themselves with. These apps can fool, not only teens, but also the smartest of business people.
This is why it is imperative that companies recognise the dangers of BYOD and understand the value of implementing a strong BYOD security policy that aims to limit and prevent the downloads of unsafe applications. Policies that control which apps are installed either by locking down devices or even by setting clear guidelines for users will help to minimise the threat.
There are many articles that go into detail on BYOD policy, it is not our intention to do that here. There are obvious steps that should be high on the list of considerations for any BYOD policy, including:
Whilst all these tips and others are important, the lesson that can really be learned from this Snapchat incident is that it is essential to devise clear rules and guidelines on third party apps and communicate these to your users.