Almost 4.6 million users of the image sending app Snapchat were victims of a data breach that may have exposed their personal information, The Wall Street Journal reported. After the cyberattack, the hackers posted information connected to the compromised database for the public to see, including Snapchap usernames and phone numbers.
Snapchat users sent 350 million messages - all of which are designed to disappear in a short period of time - in September. In August 2013, IT security firm Gibson Security alerted Snapchat to a potential security loophole that could have endangered its data, but the firm's warning was ignored.
Victims of the Snapchat data breach could include at least one employee of tech news site TechCrunch and even Snapchat Founder Evan Spiegel, according to The Washington Post.
Bob Sullivan, consumer privacy expert, told the WSJ the damage is done and there is not much users can do besides change their user information for other website or app accounts.
"People usually use the same user name across their online accounts, so for many, it would be easy to take a user name and phone number and figure out what a person's real name is," Sullivan told the WSJ. "If that scares you, then you might want to consider changing your user names across accounts, but that's about the most you can do now."
Snapchat said in a blog post that it had strengthened its defenses to avoid other data breaches. SnapchatDB.info, the site involved in the data breach, said the latest cyberdefense efforts of Snapchat might still leave security vulnerabilities, according to the Post.
"Even now the exploit persists," SnapchatDB said in a statement, according to the Post. "It is still possible to scrape this data on a large scale. Their latest changes are still not too hard to circumvent."
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