Does Hive’s security issue make it unsafe to use?

Photo: rararorro (Shutterstock)

Photo: rararorro (Shutterstock)

Hive Social recently shut down its servers after security researchers discovered serious vulnerabilities that put users’ private data at risk. According to German cybersecurity firm Zerforschung, the flaw was severe enough that hackers were able to access all personal information of all over 2 million users, including names, email addresses and phone numbers, as well as all private messages – even those previously deleted from chats became . There is no evidence of such a hack, but it’s still a massive security issue.

In response to the discovery of Zerforschung, the Hive Social team has shut down its servers, disabling the app while the vulnerabilities are patched. On Wednesday, Hive released an official statement (ironically on Twitter) stating the app will “be offline for a few days while we fix this for a better and safer experience.” It remains offline at the time of writing this article.

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To be fair, Hive Social is run by an extremely small team that probably didn’t expect a massive influx of users after Elon Musk bought Twitter. Many Hive Social features are still in development, and even the Hive Android app is a buggy work-in-progress — but that’s to be expected from a tiny app like this.

However, these issues confirm some users’ suspicions about Hive’s security. The app lacks key features like two-factor authentication, the Android app is buggy, and the servers clearly need stronger security.

Hopefully Hive comes back stronger and safer. Personally, of the many Twitter alternatives popping up, Hive is my favorite – even with its shoddy Android app. But if you’re serious about your data security, you should avoid Hive for the foreseeable future.

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That’s not to say you should jump to Post, Mastodon, or other apps hoping to replace Twitter instead. They all have their problems and reservations. More importantly, Hive’s security woes are a lesson in why you shouldn’t give your personal information to a new, untested app — no matter how exciting it is. But it also doesn’t mean you should trust Twitter.

Earlier this week, the ailing social media app suffered its own massive security breach, putting the personal information of millions of users at risk. However, unlike Hive, Twitter has not issued a statement about the hack, nor about its plans to fix the vulnerabilities that made it possible. I know that Musk has significantly reduced the company’s workforce, but if Hive’s tiny team can acknowledge the issues and take steps to fix them, we should expect the same from a large, established company like Twitter.

So where should you post?

I understand the desire to jump the Twitter ship. Twitter, like all social media, is a resource many of us rely on in our personal and professional lives, but it’s also a nightmare empire seemingly poised for total implosion. It was before Musk’s acquisition and the billionaire’s direction only accelerate the process. So of course people who want to post somewhere else.

Unfortunately, until one of these new apps finally emerges as a safe and comprehensive Twitter alternative (and I personally advocate Hive), the safest option is to avoid all of these apps for now and see which ones catch on. Of course, this isn’t a viable option for everyone. So when using these apps, practice strong data hygiene — use unique passwords secured with a password manager, limit the amount of personal information you give these apps, and enable additional security options like 2FA when possible.

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