With millions of Snapchat user phone numbers available online, it has become clear that many of them are from the same areas, including parts of Canada.
Hackers have targeted Snapchat and in doing so, have stolen 4.6 million usernames and their corresponding user phone numbers. Further examination of the phone numbers that were posted onto a website called SnapchatDB, reveals that 7,000 individual Canadian Snapchat users were affected by the security breach.
Since the database of usernames and phone numbers was made public on Wednesday, the site’s hosting provider has banned SnapchatDB. However, it appears as though people are downloading the database from other sources now that it is so widely available.
The people responsible for the hack are trying to avoid causing any harm or trouble for innocent Snapchat users by keeping the last two digits of the millions of phone numbers secret. Instead of going about the hack in an entirely malicious manner, the hackers say that they carried out the attack in order to reveal a major security flaw in Snapchat’s system, which experts had been trying to point out.
Only a week ago, security researchers at GibsonSec revealed that it was quite possible for a group of hackers to target Snapchat and attain a database of user phone numbers because of its “Find Friends” feature. This feature, which is present in numerous apps, has been criticized in the past as it effectively uploads a user’s contact list to an app’s servers. Once those numbers are uploaded, it may be easier to find friends that are also on the app, but if a hacker breaks into the service, they suddenly have access to phone numbers as well.
Snapchat responded to GibsonSec’s worries in a rather dismissive blog post but they did say that appropriate security measures were being added to the service in order to avoid any potential for phone numbers to be stolen in the event of a hack. Within days of Gibson’s report and Snapchat’s blog post, hackers actually did take phone numbers from Snapchat and as we are now finding out, all of the numbers seem to be concentrated to just a few areas, including Manitoba, Canada.
Image Credit: mashable