By Paul Thomson :: 5:04 PM
Social picture sharing service SnapChat was compromised last month, with hackers making off with a database filled with SnapChat usernames and mobile phone numbers.
The hackers have now posted this information online – data for over 4 million SnapChat users.
In an explanation provided to industry blog Tech Crunch, the hackers claimed that they stole and posted the information as a way to encourage SnapChat to increase its security efforts.
Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on SnapChat to get this exploit fixed. It is understandable that tech startups have limited resources but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does.
As a sort of courtesy to users who had their data stolen, the hackers have only made partial mobile phone numbers available in the dataset posted online. However, they have not ruled out releasing the full phone numbers, should SnapChat not tighten its security procedures.
Though SnapChat has patched some of its systems to prevent a similar exploit, there are still ways for hackers to obtain confidential user data, according to Gibson Security group – a firm that conducts routine hack attempts into companies and databases to inform them of security issues.
Gibson has provided a website for SnapChat users to check if their data was stolen in the attack.