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Snapchat hack leaks 4.6 million users' private information

  • Snapchat security vulnerability exposed
  • Usernames and mobile numbers published
  • Hackers aimed to raise public awareness around privacy
04/01/2014

A group calling itself SnapchatDB have hacked approximately 4.6 million Snapchat accounts, exposing the private data of these users. Usernames and mobile numbers have been leaked and published online on SnapchatDB.info.

The hack took advantage of a security flaw within the Snapchat app, a flaw that had been pointed out previously by Australian white-hat hackers Gibson Security. The Snapchat app stores users’ mobile numbers in order for them to easily find friends to Snapchat with. SnapchatDB was able to hack into this data based and acquire millions of personal mobile numbers.

SnapchatDB have released a statement advising the security break and leak and of personal information was not for the purpose of identity fraud or creating a scam; they simply wanted to expose Snapchat’s inherent security flaws and the ramifications that can occur when large companies acquire personal data but do not have adequate measures in place to secure this data. In a statement to tech website site TechCrunch, SnapchatDB said “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.”

Although SnapchatDB published user mobile numbers online they have censored the last two digits, which they claim is to “minimize spam and abuse”. But they do state on the website they are willing to provide an uncensored database under some circumstances and that they can be contacted via email.

Meanwhile Snapchat are yet to fix the vulnerability in their security or issue a formal statement about the hack. They have, however, advised they would be releasing a version of the app that allows users to opt out of the “Find Friends” feature; the feature that requires user to store their mobile numbers.

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