Snapchat hack: 4.6 million users have been affected

Hackers claim that 'even now the exploit persists' after releasing phone numbers and usernames of millions of individuals

Hackers have published 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”.

A site hosting the data went live on New Year’s Day but has since been taken offline, with individuals claiming responsibility for the hack telling technology site The Verge that this was “not due to legal action but due to the hosting provider being intimidated by the overwhelming attention.”

The hack comes after Australian-based security researchers Gibson Security announced on Christmas Day that they had discovered a flaw in the photo-sharing app’s code. Two days later Snapchat acknowledged the existence of the vulnerability and said they had “ implemented various safeguards” to protect users’ data.

However, after posting the data online, individuals claiming responsibility for the hack said that “once we started scraping on a large scale, [Snapchat] decided to implement very minor obstacles, which were still far from enough.

“Even now the exploit persists. It is still possible to scrape this data on a large scale. Their latest changes are still not too hard to circumvent.”

The researchers who first highlighted the problem have stressed that they are unaffiliated with the hackers and do not condone their actions. They have also created a website allowing individuals to check if their information was leaked. Individuals in the UK should be safe as the hack mainly affects Snapchat’s eight million American users.

More on Snapchat: The 23-year- old Snapchat co-founder and CEO who said no to a $3bn offer from Facebook

"We think this is has really damaged Snapchat's reputation of being an app you can trust," Gibson Security told The Independent.

"The user base will probably not change dramatically, but the demographics Snapchat are trying to target and make money off, will probably think again before they download an app like Snapchat."

Text on the website hosting the data had originally informed visitors that they were “downloading 4.6 million users’ phone number information, along with their usernames.”

It also offered the advice that “people tend to use the same username around the web so you can use this information to find phone number information associated with Facebook or Twitter accounts, or simply to figure out the phone numbers of people you wish to get in touch with.”

The last two digits of each number were censored by the hackers to “minimize spam and abuse,” although uncensored data is reportedly available on request. The alleged hackers say that individuals requesting this data include “security researchers from around the world, professors from various universities, private investigators and attorneys.”

Snapchat has yet to comment on the incident although founder Evan Spiegel - whose phone number was apparently included in the hack - tweeted that the company was currently "working with law enforcement" and will "update when we can".

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

    Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer / Web Designer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...

    Day In a Page

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border