SnapChat & Sexting

One of the most popular apps categories amongst young adults and teens are social/messaging apps.  There are a plentiful supply of them too.  Vine, Kik, WhatsApp, LINE, pinger, KakaoTalk, WeChat, Tango, Telegram, and of course Snapchat.

Image from CyberSmart

Snapchat is a particularly interesting one from a business perspective since it is a company that has no revenue to speak of, yet it recently attracted and rejected a $3 billion buy-out offer from Facebook.  SnapChat’s claim to fame has been the ability to send “temporary” images between a closed group of “friends” with the confidence that the picture, after a number of seconds will disappear, never to be seen again.  Well thats the theory, anyway.  While this opens the floodgates for many and varied hilarious images to be sent back and forth, it also has had a massive impact on the ease and supposed confidence to engage in sexting.

Now, what is SEXTING?

Sexting is the modern conjunction given to the act of sexually explicit texting.  The concept of texts is used in this term because previously, the only way to do this was to snap a photo with your 1 megapixel camera on your clamshell mobile phone, and place the lo-res grainy image in an SMS/MMS message and send it.  All this with the knowledge that the image would then forever remain on the recipients phone until they chose to delete it.  But it didn’t really matter because no-one could make out what the image was of anyway! 🙂

Enter Snapchat and the advent of up to 41 MegaPixel(MP) camera perched in a mini computer that is your smart-phone in your pocket.  As an example, I have a stunningly detailed canvas picture on my wall which is approximate 1 meter wide.  The photo on the canvas was taken with a popular smart phone at the time with a 5MP Camera.  A 41MP could potentially be blown up as a picture to be displayed on the side of a skyscraper with great clarity.

What is the RISK?

So, I hear you saying, “if the photo disappears, why are we concerned?”

The reality is that it is notoriously difficult to remove data from mobile devices simply because of the way data is stored. Since mobile devices are so regularly recycled for newer versions, this means that Snapchat photos may inadvertently be passed on to unknown persons, when users are under the impression they no longer exist.  If you know how, it is relatively easy to retrieve them with forensic software.

 What do I need to be aware of?

There are a couple of things to be aware of, depending on your role in the use of SnapChat and other similar apps, and how they are being utilised.

A Concerned Parent

Ensure you have open communication with your child.  Explain the risks, and ensure that they are aware that even when they think images are totally gone, in reality they most likely are not.

Here are some sites which may help:

And while this link will expire on the 18th of Dec – I recommend watching the ABC2 Documentary “Suicide and Me
There is an astounding stat at the start – every 10 minutes, someone in Australia makes an attempt on their own life.  This program deals with, amongst other things, how to communicate with someone who might be considering drastic actions.

A Sexster

What you do with your phone is absolutely your choice – unless you are under-age, or the phone is not yours.  If you want to find out what the potential effects could be, or if you have been the victim of an embarrassing mis-use of a photo you intended to be private, you may want to review some of these sites:

Closing Comment

“Teen sexting is a very rational act with very irrational consequences.” Danah Boyd

This is not a practice exclusive to “Teens” – it is practiced by many age brackets – during my somewhat disturbing research on this article, I encountered many images I could easily have done without ever seeing.  There are many beautiful women exposing themselves and many not so aesthetic male and female images as well.  Both are doing it either through a lack of self worth, or simply without understanding the consequences of they are doing.  Either way, when their trust is broken by someone publicising the image without their authorisation, chances are the victim is going to be feeling pretty low at the time.   Great care is needed in communicating with them.  Not condemning, or punishing.  That could be the trigger for the victim taking an even more drastic course of action.

While we are not counsellors here at Askkiz, we certainly have some knowledge and technology to help in regards to the activities discussed.  Give us a call if you would like to take proactive steps to help minimise the effects, or stop it from happening in the first place.

For a little extra assistance in detecting Sexting activities, you can use the following list to help translate some of the acronyms used in communications.

Common Sexting Slang Terms


Warning: some of these terms are vulgar. This list is nowhere close to exhaustive, words can be combined, removed, and invented on the fly.

8 Oral Sex
143 I Love You
cu46 See You For Sex
DUM Do You Masturbate?
GNOC Get Naked On Cam
GYPO Get Your Pants Off
GNRN Get Naked right Now
FMH F#&k Me Harder
IWS I Want Sex
IIT Is It Tight?
Q2C Quick To Come
RUH Are You Horny?
TDTM Talk Dirty To Me
S2R Send To Receive
NIFOC Naked In Front Of Computer
SorG Straight Or Gay?
JO Jerk Off
PAW Parents Are Watching
PIR Parent In Room
POS Parent Over Shoulder
YWS You Want Sex
WYCM Will You Call M?e
RU18 Are You 18?
CD9 / Code 9 Parent / Adult around
NALOPKT Not A Lot Of People Know This

Attack on “The Internet of Things” – linux.darlloz

The Internet of Things

The concept of the “Internet of Things” was first proposed back in 1999 by Kevin Ashton – and refers to the concept that computers in their traditional sense are not the only things taking up “space” on the internet. internetofthings There are other “things” which utilise the internet – for example, modern TV’s and media players, home automation technologies, surveillance cameras, routers, high-tech white-goods, security equipment and the list goes on.  The majority of those things have traditionally used Linux based operating systems due to the fact that Linux can be stript back to bare necessities in order to make it as streamlined as possible for the efficient running of the device it is controlling.

The worm targets small, Internet-enabled devices in addition to traditional computers. Variants exist specifically for devices such as home routers, set-top boxes and security cameras.A new worm has been discovered by Symantec which attacks these Linux systems, and hence is being dubbed an attack on “The Internet of Things”.

So far, no attacks against these devices have occurred “in the wild” (outside controlled environments).  However, the risk exists since there are so many users who do not realise they are even at risk.  This is because many users are oblivious to fact that the devices they own have an operating system, let understanding that it is based on Linux.

What is the risk?

Well, if exploited, this could allow attackers to access of your Surveillance visions.  Access the camera mounted on your new TV.  Intercept all your transmissions through your modem and/or router. At the less invasive end of the spectrum, they could fiddle with the settings on your Internet Enabled Fridge – costing you a full fridge/freezer worth of food.  At the extreme level, someone with a Smart House could be in a lot of trouble – Think HAL from Space Odyssey 2001!!

What is Linux.Darlloz?

The worm, Linux.Darlloz, exploits an old vulnerability in the PHP programming platform. For the techies out there – it exploits PHP ‘php-cgi’ Information Disclosure Vulnerability (CVE-2012-1823), which was patched in May 2012. This Proof of Concept (PoC) worm was released in late Oct 2013.

Linux.Darlloz creates random IP addresses within specific ranges. It then attempts to access a specific path on the machine with common IDs and passwords, and sends a request message out to the malware’s “home base”. If the target is unpatched, it then downloads the worm from a malicious server and starts searching for its next target.

Many vendors of devices with “hidden” operating systems have configured their products without asking for usernames and passwords, and so users may not be aware that they are using vulnerable devices in their homes or offices. Similarly, many users may have older devices which are either unsupported, or do not have the capabilities of coping with the upgraded components.

To protect from infection by the worm, Symantec recommends users take the following steps:

  1. Verify all devices connected to the network
  2. Update their software/firmware to the latest version
  3. Update their security software when it is made available on their devices
  4. Make device passwords stronger
  5. If possible, block incoming HTTP POST requests to the following paths at the gateway or on each device if not required:
  • -/cgi-bin/php
  • -/cgi-bin/php5
  • -/cgi-bin/php-cgi
  • -/cgi-bin/php.cgi
  • -/cgi-bin/php4

Call us here at Askkiz if you would like to ensure your Internet of Things is not vulnerable, and you are not at risk.


How to Enable 2 Factor Authentication in WordPress

Following on from my post “2 Factor Authenitication – Why everyone needs it” – Here is a guide to give you some more tools to make sure you are safe online.

The concepts in this presentation can be applied across the board, not just in WordPress.  Most Public Domain email accounts now have 2 factor authentication available in it – and many other sites and services are implementing it too.



2 Factor Authentication – why everyone needs it.

Public Domain Email hacked.

Public Domain Email hacked.


Once the exclusive domain of large corporate players, and high security institutions – 2 factor authentication is now a highly recommended, if not mandatory form of password security for everyone.

I recently spent time with a client who’s public domain email account (such as yahoo, gmail, hotmail etc) was compromised, and altered to redirect inbound emails to a similarly constructed email address.

Let me lay out the story in an infographic.

Internal Social Media Policy Considerations

Social Media has become much more than just something you “do”… for some it is a way of life which demands to roam freely through the workplace.  Social media provides a big opportunity for your company to engage with both your employees and customers, but you have to be careful so that the interaction does not impact negatively.

An Internal Social Media policy deals with how staff members interact with each other, and how a staff members actions in the social forum affect the company, whether or not the action occurs on work premises or within work hours.

The video here briefly discusses six things which need to be considered in the creation of a solid Internal Social Media Policy.