Snapchat is a mobile app with 5 million daily users and 350 million total users as of last September. Users use the app to send photos secretly to each other. A “snap” is a photo you send to your friend or a group of friends that they can view for a set amount of time, usually 10 seconds or less. It’s a genius idea, and Snapchat has been loading up on millions in venture capital and turning down $3 billion purchase offers from Facebook until New Years Eve.
On New Years Eve it was reported that Snapchat had a security breach and 4.5 million users phone numbers, email addresses and usernames were leaked. What a horrible thing for a service to suffer whose very existence is to allow people to send photos privately to other people. The database of information was posted online. At this time, it appears that the original post of the userdata has been removed but I was able to access it last night. I wanted to see how many people in our area were included in the breached data. Just Modesto alone had over 11,000 users whose data was included in the breach.
To check and see if your user data was included in the breach, you can check your username against the breached user database here. To review Snapchat on my website DailyAppShow.Com, I had a Snapchat account. According to the database search tool, I was not included in the breach.
What should you do if you are included in the Snapchat breach?
Deleting your account will only help protect you from a future breach should it happen again. It is likely that Snapchat will fix the issue and beef up security from here on out. The user data that was leaked is said to not include any passwords, so I do not believe that you need to go and change your password if you used the same password on other sites. I would suggest changing your password on Snapchat just in case. You can never be too safe when it comes to passwords. The website that posted the database for all to see stated that the last two numbers in all of the phone numbers were scrambled so there is no immediate fear there. However it was stated that the original database which is still in this person’s hands contains complete phone numbers, so there is still risk there.
What would I do if my Snapchat user data was included in the breach?
Nothing. My username is consistent across all social media websites and services so my username was already public knowledge for anyone who cared to know what my username was. People search websites list our phone numbers with the last two digits scrambled until you pay them for the info, some of the sites list your complete phone number like this one. I don’t want to say that I am ok with user data being breached, but the Snapchat user data currently published for all to see, is not really anything to get too worried about.
Do your kids use Snapchat?
Now would be an excellent opportunity to ask your kids about whether or not they use Snapchat. Make sure to also discuss the importance of online privacy and using services to share photos, text and videos safely. Who knows if Snapchat is saving photos on their servers after they are said to expire or not. Assuming that photos expire after a short “tease” of looking at them has been known to make it’s users a little more risky with the content they share with their friends. Data is only as safe as it’s connections and if we can learn anything from the recent Snapchat, Target and Adobe security breachings, it’s that all companies are potential targets regardless of their size.