The Snapchat Hack

Are your details safe???

On New Year’s Day Hackers were able to publish the usernames and phone numbers of more than 4.6 million Snapchat users in order to “raise public awareness on how reckless many internet companies are with user information”.

The data was publish on to a website called SnapchatDB which has since been suspended. The hackers censored the last two digits of the phone numbers “in order to minimise spam and abuse”, but offered to disclose the uncensored database “under certain circumstances”.

The hackers obtained the information by exploiting a vulnerability in Snapchat’s Find Friends interface, which allows users to upload their address book contacts to help find friends who are also using the service.

Days before this hack an Australian firm Gibson Security, identified several vulnerabilities with Snapchat App and reported their findings to Snapchat. Gibson security has denied all knowledge of the recent hack and the SnapchatDB website, but did tweet stating that it was a matter of time till something like that happened.
Now Gibson Security has developed a website called GS Lookup where people can enter their username and be told if their data was included in the security leak. The site claims that most of the affected users were in the US, so UK users are unlikely to have been hacked but it is still recommend that all users of the Snapchat App check.

Since the hack Snapchat have reportedly said it will release an updated version of its app after hackers downloaded usernames and phone numbers for 4.6 million accounts.

The new version of the app will allow Snapchatters to opt out of appearing in ‘Find Friends’ after they have verified their phone number. Find Friends, which allows users to upload their address book contacts to help find friends who are also using the service, is the feature that was exploited by the hackers.

Snapchat also said that, as well as releasing a new version of the app, it is improving its ‘rate limiting’ and other restrictions to address future attempts to abuse the service.

“The Snapchat community is a place where friends feel comfortable expressing themselves and we’re dedicated to preventing abuse,” it said.

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