Snapchat hack leaks 4.6m usernames and phone numbers

Hackers target Snapchat's intimate photo-sharing app and post account details online

LAST UPDATED AT 10:11 ON Thu 2 Jan 2014

 HACKERS have gained access to usernames and phone numbers for 4.6 million Snapchat accounts days after the photo-sharing service was warned about lax security.

Snapchat allows users to send photographs that delete themselves after they have been viewed. That makes it popular among people who want to share intimate images without the risk that they will be forwarded or posted online.

A database containing account information for 4.6 million Snapchat users was uploaded to the internet yesterday, the BBC reports. The database has since been taken down, but a cached version remains online.

According to the technology news site Mashable, the hackers obscured the last two digits of each phone number but said that they may release an unexpurgated database "in certain circumstances".

The hackers told TechCrunch that they hoped to draw attention to Snapchat's security flaws. "It is understandable that tech start-ups have limited resources," they told the website. "But security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does."

On Christmas Day an Australian company, Gibson Security, had said that Snapchat's app was vulnerable to attack. The company said that it was not involved in the hack, but tweeted that it was only a "matter of time" until a leak occurred.

Snapchat account holders can use this Gibson Security tool to discover whether their account details were compromised. It is thought that only American accounts were affected by the hack.  · 

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