The apps are under scrutiny given their users are primarily teens and young adults and are marketed as ways to privately share images. Poke and Snapchat are supposed to only display an image or video file for a fixed length of time as determined by the sender. After the timer expires the apps delete the images off the device.
But news site Buzzfeed discovered this week that both Snapchat and Poke store images on the mobile device unecrypted until they are viewed by the application. This makes it easy to use file browsing apps like iExplorer to copy the images out of the mobile device and easily redistribute them. iExplorer works on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch without the need to jailbreak the device.
Facebook told Buzzfeed that they will be pushing a fix for the issue soon. In the same article, Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel dismissed the concerns.
“The people who most enjoy using Snapchat are those who embrace the spirit and intent of the service. There will always be ways to reverse engineer technology products — but that spoils the fun!” Spiegel said to Buzzfeed’s Katie Notopoulos.