Acknowledging the leak of its user information, private messaging app Snapchat’s makers have assured users that it is going to release an update to the app, making it harder for hackers to get through to user details. The post comes on the back of the leak of about 4.6 million usernames and partial phone numbers of Snapchat users that found their way to the Internet over the New Year.
The leak was made possible using the “Find Friends” feature on Snapchat and so, the company is planning to make the whole feature optional. In the blog post, the team wrote, “We will be releasing an updated version of the Snapchat application that will allow Snapchatters to opt out of appearing in Find Friends after they have verified their phone number. We’re also improving rate limiting and other restrictions to address future attempts to abuse our service.”
Snapchat promises a safer app
The leak was undertaken by a group called SnapchatDB, who were acting on the back of a report by Gibson Security, released a week ago. The security firm had warned Snapchat of the flaw in the Find Friends feature, but the app makers failed to patch it up in time. The group went on to post partial phone numbers and usernames on the Internet, taking Snapchat by complete surprise. Luckily for Snapchat and its users, no snaps or messages were leaked out in the hack. It was also found that most of the affected users were concentrated in North America and Snapchat’s global audiences were not affected.
The app makers extended an olive branch to security firms, requesting them to get in touch with Snapchat if and when they find flaws in the service. “We want to make sure that security experts can get a hold of us when they discover new ways to abuse our service so that we can respond quickly to address those concerns. The best way to let us know about security vulnerabilities is by emailing us: email@example.com.,” the team wrote.
Even while Snapchat is promising a fix for this soon, it’ll have to be a little overcautious about its security, considering the tech industry thinks the messaging app is a promising prospect for 2014. Last year, Google, Tencent and even Facebook were coveting Snapchat but the service’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, decided it was not time enough to sell the app off. If Snapchat does want to cash in on its popularity this year, it’ll have to ward off all security threats first.