My closest friend praises Snapchat for getting him a loved one. So out of curiosity, I dipped my feet in the Snapchat water. I met my soulmate and intimately exchanged photos.
Little did I know it was a date gone south. A little argument ensued, followed by threats and blackmail. Where on Earth would I have to hide my identity? I couldn’t bear getting my private photos exposed on the www.
Until now, you may have no idea you are vulnerable to doxxing on Snapchat. After all, it’s where you can enjoy a social presence without being public. Well, I have some news for you. You can get doxxed on Snapchat.
Snapchat was launched in 2011 as an instant messaging app that introduced the idea of self-deleting messages. It now has more than 238 million users. While Snapchat may seem to have a grip on privacy, you can still get in trouble if you’re not careful!
Snapchat works on the internet. A place where you can never be too safe. To keep private information intact, keep a few key things in mind. Snapchat uses the ‘Quick Add’ feature to connect you to mutual friends. Consider disabling it as it exposes your username to people you haven’t yet added. Also, change your ‘Contact Me’ privileges from ‘Everyone’ to ‘My Friends’.
These small changes may prove necessary for extroverts among you. A change in settings with extra precautions decreases your chances of getting doxxed. This includes not blasting your Snapchat username on Twitter. Moreover, be wary of what you post online.
For those folks among you who have no idea what doxxing means, here’s a simple explanation. Doxxing means the act of revealing private information on an online public platform. The intent is usually foul. The leaked data may include embarrassing snaps and even personal and financial records!
The motives behind Doxxing can be as diverse as people. Some psychopathic hackers enjoy playing detectives on unsuspecting teenagers. Others find it funny to 'swat' on their fellow gamers. Yet, things can get serious! People who get doxxed can be blackmailed and extorted for the sake of their dignity and privacy. So it's always a good idea to be a step ahead when it comes to your online security.
Here’s how you can avoid doxxing on Snapchat:
Here’s how you can avoid getting doxxed on Snapchat
1. Do not share your Snapchat username
Although it may seem like an innocuous suggestion, this is vital to your privacy! Snapchat allows you to add someone using their username. This means that anybody with your username can view your stories even if you didn’t add them. Avoid mass-sharing of your username on other SN sites, particularly Twitter. It may garner unwanted trolls and attention.
2. Limit Your Reception
This one is particularly tricky and important, especially if you’re a lady. You may be thinking you are safe if you haven’t blasted your username online. Yet, this isn’t foolproof, and you can still be accessed if someone stumbles upon your username. To be extra safe, you should restrict who can send you snaps. In the settings app, scroll down and tap ‘Contact Me’. Change your settings from ‘Everyone’ to ‘My Friends’. Now malware, suspicious links, and unwanted snaps will not reach you through your snaps.
3. Review Your Friend Circle
Snapchat is a fun app to have. Since you’re exactly in detective mode when on Snapchat, there’s no certainty that someone unwanted didn’t slip into your friends' circle. So, it's always a good idea to regularly keep a check on your friends' list. It's also a good idea to be wary of what your friends are sharing with you. While you may be opting for better security settings, your friends may not be that smart (no offense).
4. Don’t post snaps that reveal your address
This is particularly important if you have a public account. Or you are a public figure whose Snapchat username is accessible. Check your snaps twice before sending them.
Gen Z’s are really fond of mentioning their location on Snapchat stories. As cool as it may seem, let me break it to you, it comes with a cost. Trolls and bullies are everywhere. They are tracking every cent of info or hints you drop on your social media. You have no idea, but even a signboard can get you in trouble. In fact, the dates and time streaks you casually mention of your Hyundai can be used to track you down with surprising accuracy.
Objects that you should avoid in your snaps:
- Shop names
- Menu cards
I would also advise turning off your location on Snapchat for additional privacy concerns.
5. Make a Habit of Regularly Changing Passwords
Not only Snapchat, but you should regularly change passwords for every social media. I change my passwords every month. I keep different passwords for different social media platforms. One major mistake you all make: Keep the same, age-old password for all your social media.
When it comes to passwords, people often choose easy ones. Like their full names, favorite movie, favorite character, etc. I know it’s easy for you to remember these passwords but avoid them. These kinds of passwords are easy to track, especially by people in your close vicinity.
Don’t know how to create a strong password? Here’s something that may help you:
6. Must use Two-factor Authentication
It is always important to use strong passwords. Additionally, you should also turn on two-factor authentication in your Snapchat settings. Two-Factor Authentication is the best way to prevent hackers from logging into your account. In fact, two factor authentication gives information on the hacker’s time and location. Essential information which you can use to report to cybersecurity.
I recommend not to activate two-factor authentication via SMS. SMS is quick and easy, but they are easily readable through notification bars. Here's how a Snapchat account was hacked using SMS codes. You should always go for email authentication as it is more secure and less accessible.
7. Turn off Notification Previews
This one is going to blow your mind! Undoubtedly, Snapchat takes its privacy pretty seriously. Yet, hackers can still access your account if someone has a clear view of your screen. Snapchat sends an unencrypted message to your phone via SMS to confirm that it's you who’s trying to log in. The problem arises when your notification previews are on. In this case, a malicious 'friend' can easily access the unencrypted SMS. Congratulations! Your Snapchat profile has been hacked! You would be surprised how easy it is for people around you to hack into your social media accounts. Love them all, trust a few!
Wrapping up, Snapchat is a fun way to connect with your friends without being public. You’re usually not at risk of being hacked on Snapchat through mainstream ways. However, hackers are known to find their way to your private information. Doxxing on Snapchat is rare, yet it exists. Be smart, be safe, and don’t get doxxed!