SnapChat Apps Not Working, Pictures Won’t Upload? Company Updates API Killing Many 3rd-Party Apps To Increase Security

SnapChat Apps Not Working, Pictures Won’t Upload? Company Blocks Access To 3rd-Party To Increase Security wont upload cameral roll gallery
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Is you favorite Snapchat app suddenly not working? Are you having trouble getting photos to upload from the gallery or camera roll? Or maybe you’ve found your account locked, banning or suspending you from the service. If you’ve noticed any of these problems in the last few days, the reason is SnapChat has made a decision to shut down all third party apps by fortifying its API. In an effort to increase the security and protect the privacy of its users, Snapchat is cracking down on third party app developers and those who try to use those services.





So what kinds of third party apps are people using that has led to the crackdown? While Snapchat has never published or allowed access to its APIs by third parties, back in 2013 some clever security researchers published a post in an online security journal which described in detail how the Snapchat API worked. From there, many third party developer have found ways to abuse Snapchat’s APIs and create apps that compromise the privacy of users on Snapchat.

“Almost every security issue we’ve had since I’ve been here has been related to API abuse,” Snapchat engineer Tim Sehn told Medium. Sehn joined Snapchat in 2013 soon after the journal article was published.

Many of these third party Snapchat apps are lauded for giving users “added functionality,” but the reality is, they are a privacy and security risk.  Some of the added functions these apps provide include the ability to download photos that were supposed to disappear when sent and save them on Camera Rolls or upload photos from the gallery or camera roll to the service for transmission.

After the massive “Snappening’ hack of a third party Snapchat app, Snapsaved, occurred last fall, in which a database of 90,000 saved Snapchat photos and video were leaked online – some being underaged nudes – the company decided to throw their security precautions into high gear in an effort to keep such things from happening again.

This week, third-party Snapchat app users have begun to see the result of Snapchat’s efforts to keep their privacy and security the top priority. With the Snapchat API being fortified greatly in the last week, any third-party Snapchat apps simply won’t work. One such app is SnapCrack a $5 application on the iTunes app store that used to save photos sent from friends on Snapchat.

SnapChat Apps Not Working, Pictures Won’t Upload? Company Blocks Access To 3rd-Party To Increase Security add on cheats tricks download photos gallery
Type in "Snapchat" in the Apple App or Google Play store and you'll find a ton of third party apps allowing users to cheat the API and save or upload photos. Photo: iTunes

Prior to the fortified API, Snapchat had begun cracking down on users who downloaded and used offending third party apps. The use of third party apps is in violation of Snapchat’s terms of service, and so the company first would warn offenders, then if they continued to use the app anyway, Snapchat would lock the users account. With the fortified API, Snapchat hopes banning users won’t be necessary any longer as the new API requires download for use. Users can no longer stay on old versions of the app. They must upgrade in order to use Snapchat.

SnapChat Apps Not Working, Pictures Won’t Upload? Company Blocks Access To 3rd-Party To Increase Security
Many users bemoan the fact that Snapchat's new API is causing their favorite apps to stop working, but the company says, it's for user's security. Photo: Twitter

“We never wanted third-party apps on our platform,” Sehn said. “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.”

In addition to the changes in the API, Snapchat also published its first transparency report this week, while also announcing an increase in its bug bounty program for hackers that report vulnerabilities in the system.


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