Snapchat Hack: 4.6M Users' Personal Information Exposed

Image: Snapchat Hack: 4.6M Users' Personal Information Exposed

Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 11:44 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Hackers posted more than 4.5 million Snapchat users' personal information online this week and claimed they did so to force the popular photo-sharing app to beef up its security.

The leaked information included 4.6 million people's user names and partial phone numbers and was posted on the site SnapchatDB.info earlier this week, CNN reported. Snapchat is a 2-year-old tech startup that allows users to send videos and photos to each other that disappear shortly after they're viewed.

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"Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed," the hackers told TechCrunch.com. "It is understandable that tech startups have limited resources but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does."

By late Wednesday morning, SnapchatDB.info had been suspended and a new site had been set up to allow users to see if their information had been compromised.

The Snapchat hack came a few days after security firm Gibson, which exposes online security gaps but doesn’t exploit them, published a code they claimed would allow such a breach.

Snapchat minimized Gibson's findings in a blog post on Friday, before its users' info was posted online.

"Over the past year we've implemented various safeguards to make it more difficult to do. We recently added additional counter-measures and continue to make improvements to combat spam and abuse," the post read. "Happy Snapping!"

On Wednesday, Gibson denied knowing anything about SnapchatDB.info.


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