Oh Snap

Some Jerk Has Figured Out a Way to Recover Your ‘Deleted’ Snapchat Photos

We feel violated.

Very bad news. (Photo: Digital Trends)

Very bad news. (Photo: Digital Trends)

Snapchat is supposed to be a safe space, a place where you can freely sext in peace without fearing repercussions from your significant others or family. Now that peace of mind has been thoroughly destroyed by a Utah security firm that says it has figured out a way to extract the allegedly dissolved pictures from Android phones.

Richard Hickman, a digital forensics examiner, discovered that the popular app installs a folder called “RECEIVED_IMAGES_SNAPS,” where the pictures—you guessed it—are stored. Similar to a magical cloak, the app affixes an extension called “.NOMEDIA” to the pictures, which can take hours to find depending on how much data is on your phone. He cracked the code of making the pictures viewable by altering the extension.

Mr. Hickman told KSL-TV that the snaps were easier to find than the pictures taken directly from the phone:

“Then it’s most likely put into unallocated space, where here it’s actually allocated,” Hickman said. “It’s not that it’s deleted—it just isn’t mapped anymore. It says O.K., that spot where that picture was stored is now available to be overwritten. That’s what would happen with a regular camera.”

He wants to further ruin your life—he’s working on a way to trace the sender’s information and developing the same recovery capability for iPhones. Also, Mr. Hickman has figured out a way to monetize (are you listening, Snapchat?) this terrible skill by charging people between $300 to $500 to extract the photos.

All of this makes us want to go back to good, old-fashioned sex.

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com