Snapchat hacked, 4.6M users affected
In an attempt to convince the makers of a popular photo-sharing app to beef up its security, an anonymous group has published the private information of 4.6 million Snapchat users online.
The usernames and phone numbers were published on a site called SnapchatDB.info, which as of Wednesday afternoon was suspended.
The group sent a statement to technology news blog TechCrunch.com, saying it obtained the information using a recently-fixed glitch in the app.
The last two digits in each phone number were censored in order to “minimize spam and abuse,” according to the blog, but the group says it may publish the unfiltered data.
“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. 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,” the statement reads.
It goes on to say that the app’s makers did not adequately fix a glitch that could lead to more information leaks in the future, and urges the company to make security a priority.
According to a thread on Reddit, only Canadians with numbers in the 867 and 204 area codes, which serve the Northwest Territories and Manitoba, are affected. A total of 76 out of 322 U.S. area codes are also affected.
Snapchat allows users to take photos and video, add text and send them to any amount of recipients.
The recipient can view the content for up to 10 seconds before it is deleted from their device and from the app’s servers.
The glitch was identified by Gibson Security, an Australia-based group of researchers.
That group says they took their concerns to the developers only to be rebuffed.
A website has been created that allows users to enter their username and check if they were affected by the leak.
Gibson Security told Vice that anyone who has been affected should delete their Snapchat account and possibly change their phone number.
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