Days after being warned of a security weakness in its popular app, Snapchat became the target of a widespread cyberattack that affected millions of users, a black eye for a local start-up with high hopes of becoming the next social media juggernaut, it was reported Friday.
A reported 4.6 million user names and phone numbers were exposed by the New Year's Eve breach, the Los Angeles Times reported. The hackers told The Times they went after Snapchat, a photo-messaging app, to expose the company's security flaws.
"The problem for Snapchat is kids seek it out because they think it's more secure," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at technology advisory firm Enderle Group, told The Times. "This goes against the brand. It makes them seem less secure when their advantage is supposed to be more security."
The hackers published the information on Snapchatdb.info, censoring the last two digits of users' phone numbers to minimize spam and abuse. But they hinted that they would be willing to release the full numbers "under certain circumstances," according to The Times.
The company, founded by Pacific Palisades resident Evan Speigel and two college friends, said in a blog post Thursday that "no other information, including snaps, was leaked or accessed in these attacks." Snapchat also said it would be releasing an updated version of the app and was implementing other restrictions "to address future attempts to abuse our service," The Times reported.
User names and phone numbers are not considered sensitive information, so security experts and tech analysts say the Snapchat hack isn't extremely serious, according to The Times.
— City News Service