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A 24-year-old forensics examiner from Utah has made a discovery that may make some Snapchat users think twice before sending a photo that they think is going to quickly disappear. Richard Hickman of Decipher Forensics found that it’s possible to pull Snapchat photos from Android phones simply by downloading data from the phone using forensics software and removing a “.NoMedia” file extension that was keeping the photos from being viewed on the device. He published his findings online and local TV station KSL has a video showing how it’s done.

“I was surprised no one else had done it because of how easy it was,” said Hickman by phone. “It just took a couple of days to discover it.”

Hickman started the research while in a Mobile Forensics Class this spring. He says it’s come in useful at Decipher Forensics as clients have wanted Snapchat evidence from phones in divorce and missing teenager cases. He says they have grabbed 60 to 70 deleted Snapchats from phones so far, with at least 40 photos taken from just one phone.

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