In the least surprising news of all time, 4.6 million Snapchat accounts were compromised last week and their usernames and phone numbers posted online by anonymous hackers. The hackers censored the last two digits of each phone number, stating that their intention was to “raise awareness” of the disappearing picture app’s security weaknesses, not to “encourage abuse.” If anyone was still laboring under the illusion that Snapchat was safe or private (it’s not), this latest security breach should cure them of that insanity right away.
Two websites have emerged to let users check if their information was released. GS Lookup is a “public service lookup” created by Gibson Security. You simply plug in your username and it tells you if you’re safe or not. Snapcheck.org lets you input either your username or phone number to see if your data is among the 4.6 million leaked. Gibson Security’s suggestion for those who have had info leaked is that they contact their phone provider and change their phone number. Snapcheck.org notes that while the phone numbers are cut off, full numbers can be requested, which “implies the numbers could be sold.” Suddenly the idea of changing your phone number doesn’t seem so over-the-top, does it?
So really, the only secure way to communicate with anyone is to hand them a sealed envelope in a closed room, and burn the message immediately after reading. Alternatively, we could go back to carrier pigeons. The NSA would never shoot down an innocent bird just to intercept your “Want to get Thai tonight?” message, would they? Haha, no, they totally would. Big Brother is real. Enjoy never feeling safe again!