Snapchat sees 4.6m usernames and numbers published as messaging service is hacked

Snapchat: picture messaging service is hacked
Snapchat: picture messaging service is hacked

Snapchat, the picture messaging service, has been hacked and a reported 4.6 million people's usernames and numbers have been published.

The app, which allows people to send images to friends that then self-destruct after a set amount of time, has had its security shown up by a site called

While the site currently appears to be suspended, SnapchatDB has saved the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million accounts, while making this information publically available to download.

The site told Tech Crunch that its "motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness" around the issue of security on the Snapchat app, and to "put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed."

The site said: "It is understandable that tech start-ups have limited resources, but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does."

The SnapchatDB site claims it wanted to "minimize spam and abuse that may arise from this release," and therefore censored the last two digits of peoples’ numbers, claiming that its main goal is to "raise public awareness on how reckless many internet companies are with user information".

"You wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurant that spends millions on decoration, but barely anything on cleanliness," it concluded.

Last week Snapchat posted on its blog an acknowledgement of possible security breaches to its system, citing a "security group" who posted documentation for the app’s private API.

Snapchat said: "This documentation included an allegation regarding a possible attack by which one could compile a database of Snapchat usernames and phone numbers."

Snapchat said its "Find Friends" feature, which allows users to upload their address book contacts to the app in order to find people, does not display the phone numbers to other users and, "We don’t support the ability to look up phone numbers based on someone’s username".

It added: "Theoretically, if someone wanted to upload a huge set of phone numbers, like every number in an area code, or every possible number in the US, they could create a database of the results and match usernames to phone numbers that way.

Snapchat said it has implemented various safeguards over the past year to make this kind of upload more difficult to do, adding "additional counter-measures" while continuing to make improvements to combat spam and abuse.



Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers