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Commentary: Don’t be selfie-conscious, Snapchat hack here to help

January 2, 2014

lum.13@osu.edu
Friends Amrita Mohanty, 16, (left), Marta Williams, 16, and Michelle Mao, 15, take a Snapchat 'selfie' while having coffee at the Steepery Tea Bar in Woodbury, Minn., Dec. 12, 2013. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Friends Amrita Mohanty, 16, (left), Marta Williams, 16, and Michelle Mao, 15, take a Snapchat ‘selfie’ while having coffee at the Steepery Tea Bar in Woodbury, Minn., Dec. 12.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Snapchat users have one more reason to be selfie-conscious about using the popular app now that 4.6 million accounts have been hacked.

After all, those with compromised accounts had their username and phone number free for anyone and everyone to see after the list was posted earlier this week.

Clearly, this hack wasn’t the greatest moment in Snapchat’s illustrious history of allowing users to send millions of selfies, pet pictures and (likely) scandalous photos, but it could have been worse.

Really, this was like a warning hack, if such things exist.

SnapchatDB.info, the site that broke into Snapchat’s database, released a statement saying the hack “was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed.” The hack followed recent allegations from security group Gibson Security, claiming the Snapchat database “contains username and phone number pairs of a vast majority of the Snapchat users,” making it a super easy target for a security breach. Snapchat denied their findings in a blog post Dec. 27.

Essentially, the hackers wanted to make the world aware Snapchat had some security issues that need to be worked on, and they proved their point 4.6 million times.

It seems like it’s another site looking out for the safety and well-being of all those important and well-composed photos you’ve taken and sent.

The hackers (being the gems they are) censored the last two numbers off users’ phone numbers to cut down on spam and abuse — because there is nothing computer hackers hate more than spam and abuse.

While I don’t endorse hacking into someone’s system and releasing information, it seems that as hackers, these guys missed the mark. SnapchatDB.info didn’t release passwords or even sent photos (which would likely be the biggest fear for Snapchat users).

If someone wanted to find my phone number, they wouldn’t have to dig through millions of phone numbers in the Snapchat user system. They could probably look at the bottom of my emails or the White Pages. So I’m not too worried at this point.

These hackers almost seem like helpful ones.

Let’s just hope that Snapchat steps it up before a less-friendly computer wiz hits your system.


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