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".

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
Voices
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    Ashdown Group: Part time Network Support Analyst / Windows Systems Administrat

    £30 per hour: Ashdown Group: An industry leading and well established business...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

    £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

    £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas