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7,200 Canadians Had Data Compromised In Snapchat Hack

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[caption id="attachment_76873" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Snapchat Hack Affects 7,200 Canadians Snapchat Hack Affects 7,200 Canadians
[/caption]Snapchat Hack Affects 7,200 Canadians

The popular smartphone app called Snapchat made the list of Nielsen's 3rd most popular app in terms of downloads. It is regularly used by 13 million people and grew so popular as to compel Facebook to open up its wallets and pay top dollar to buy it.

Perhaps that kind of visibility makes it a target because hackers have made a very public statement about the security of the application. What they did was to access the login names and passwords of 4.6 million Snapchat users including 7,200 Canadians and publish the information online on a website called snapchatdb.info, which has since been suspended. In all fairness, that is quite a powerful statement to make and will definitely gain the hackers some serious street cred.

The incident bruises the image of a young company that reportedly turned down a $3 billion US buyout offer from Facebook last year. According to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 9 per cent of U.S. cellphone owners use Snapchat, which amounts to roughly 26 million adults. The Pew study didn't include users under 18, a demographic with which Snapchat is especially popular. The Los Angeles-based company, which has no source of revenue, has not disclosed its own user figures.

Snapchat responded to the security threat in a nonchalant blog post on their website:

Occasionally computer security professionals and other helpful people reach out to us about potential bugs and vulnerabilities in Snapchat. We are grateful for the assistance of professionals who practice responsible disclosure and we’ve generally worked well with those who have contacted us.

This week, on Christmas Eve, a security group posted documentation for our private API. This documentation included an allegation regarding a possible attack by which one could compile a database of Snapchat usernames and phone numbers.

Our Find Friends feature allows users to upload their address book contacts to Snapchat so that we can display the accounts of Snapchatters who match the phone numbers found in the address book. Adding a phone number to your Snapchat account is optional, but it’s helpful for allowing your friends to find you. We don’t display the phone numbers to other users and we don’t support the ability to look up phone numbers based on someone’s username.

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.

Ironically, it was only days ago that a security firm called GibsonSec, which is based in Australia, issued a warning that Shapchat's user names, passwords, and phone numbers were vulnerable to hackers. On December 27, Snapchat made a public statement that they had closed the security holes. Oddly enough, that was the same day retail giant Target had to backpedal from earlier statements that their Target Redcard PINs were safe. Now, hackers have made fools of Snapchat's development team. Sadly, that team of programmers will have a lot of 'splaining to do to their technical directors.

Are you a Snapchat user?

On The Web:
Snapchat breach affects 7,200 Canadian users 0
http://www.edmontonsun.com/2014/01/02/snapchat-breach-affects-7200-canadian-users

Snapchat stays quiet after 4.6M accounts hacked
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/snapchat-stays-quiet-after-4-6m-accounts-hacked-1.2482077

Sean is a London (Ontario) based writer, and has been writing full-time for eCanadaNow since May of 2005, covering Canadian topics and world issues. Since 2009, Sean has been the lead editor for eCanadaNow. Prior to his work writing and editing for the eCanadaNow, he worked as a freelancer for several Canadian newspapers.. You can contact Sean at {Sean at ecanadanow.com] Google

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