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Snapchat Stores “Deleted” Photos In Phones’ Data: Forensic Experts

Data engineers can retrieve images simply by removing a file extension.

Snapchat Stores “Deleted” Photos In Phones’ Data: Forensic Experts

Snapchat, that clever app that allows friends to send photos that automatically disappear after several seconds, may not be disposing of the evidence after all. A digital forensics firm in Utah has discovered that the app actually saves the photos on the user’s device, rather than destroying them, as it claims.

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Decipher Forensics, based in Orem, said it took one of its investigators around six hours to retrieve the pictures. The firm’s methods work on Android phones and tablets, but they are currently working on a way to find them on devices running iOS.

Instead of deleting the image, the app adds a “.NOMEDIA” file extension to it, which means the photos are unviewable. Forensics experts, however, can remove the files from the phone, change the extension, and then–voila! Your invisible pictures are made visible once more.

Digital fading has long been a hot topic of conversation, with Eric Schmidt recently saying he wished the Internet itself had a delete button.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.

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