Late Tuesday night, the wildly-popular social network Snapchat was hacked, and several million usernames and phone numbers were leaked online. According to Snapchat, an estimated 4.6 million usernames were stolen and posted as a downloadable file on an open website for anyone to look through. As of this time, the hackers are still anonymous, and it comes as horrible news to anyone who had their information posted online without their consent.
Snapchat had alerted its users of the situation a few days prior in a blog post, in which it announced a new feature allowing Snapchat users to upload their phone’s contacts into the app in order to find friends easier. Snapchat explained the potential problem to their users:
Theoretically, if someone were able to upload a huge set of phone numbers, like every number in an area code, or every possible number in the U.S., they could create a database of the results and match usernames to phone numbers that way. Over the past year we’ve implemented various safeguards to make it more difficult to do. We recently added additional counter-measures and continue to make improvements to combat spam and abuse.
What they said was only “theoretical” ended up becoming a reality, and many of its users are angry, and rightfully so. The website containing the stolen information was taken down the next day, but whoever the hackers were more than likely still have any information they stole.
Meanwhile, Snapchat wasn’t the only social network to have been the victim of a breach.
Microsoft’s video calling service Skype was hacked by a group identifying themselves as the Syrian Electronic Army, and they used their hacking opportunity to claim that Skype, along with Microsoft’s other apps such as Outlook, were spying on its users and giving information to the government.
An article was posted on Skype’s official blog with the title “Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army.. Stop Spying!” Skype’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts were also breached:
Skype’s social media accounts appear to be back in their control, and they posted this message to their users:
While no information was stolen in Skype’s case, it could be just as damaging as Snapchat’s. With hacking becoming all the more common, users of social networking sites are sure growing increasingly weary, and some are even becoming driven away from them completely.
How will social networks respond in order to stay one step ahead of potential security breaches and hackers? Time will tell.
- Hackers Claim To Publish List Of 4.6M Snapchat Usernames And Numbers (techcrunch.com)
- Snapchat gets hacked, 4.6M users have their details published online (mobigyaan.com)
- Reports: Millions of Snapchat usernames, phone numbers leaked – USA TODAY (topbreakingnews.info)
- Was your Snapchat account hacked? – Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au)