March 7, 2014
Millions of Snapchat user accounts compromised after hacker attack
Snapchat, the red-hot private messaging service, said today that it knew for months about a security loophole that allowed hackers this week to harvest millions of phone numbers and announced changes to its systems.
An anonymous group called Snapchat DB posted the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat users on New Year's Eve, days after the startup - headed by 23-year old founder Evan Spiegel - brushed off warnings that its app still contained security loopholes.
The hacker group, which claimed to be based in the United States and Europe, made the entire database available for download but redacted the last two digits of every phone number. Snapchat DB said it was working to raise awareness about Snapchat's security holes, not out of malicious intent.
In its first public statement since the leak, Snapchat said that no "snaps" - the contents of messages - were compromised or accessed as part of the hack.
Snapchat has soared in popularity over the past year because it allows its users - mostly teens - to send private pictures and messages that self-destruct after 10 seconds at most.
Snapchat's immense popularity among young users has made it one of the most closely watched social media companies in the world, and Facebook reportedly offered $3 billion last year in a failed acquisition bid.
The company did not apologize for the leaks but said it would carry out some changes to prevent further unwanted disclosures.