Snapchat update to close loophole after mass hack

Snapchat is updating its app to close a loophole that saw millions of Snapchatters' details leaked by hackers.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm

Hacked photo-sharing app Snapchat is updating its app to close a loophole that saw millions of Snapchatters' details leaked online -- but is it too little too late?

In a public statement, Snapchat says the update will tighten restrictions and allow you to opt out of the Find Friends feature, which sees the app gobble up phone numbers of your friends and family from your address book. It's designed to help you find people you know who are using Snapchat, but it also allows ne'er-do-wells to attack the app.

Usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million accounts were posted online on New Year's Eve by hackers, who left off only the last two digits of each number when posting them publicly. The hackers say they leaked the data to "put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed".

Security company Gibson Security, which claims to have originally discovered the loophole last year, yesterday warned that "everyone is still at risk."

Snapchat is a popular messaging service that lets you send a photo to a friend's phone, safe in the knowledge it will delete itself 10 seconds later. Inevitably, among the 150 million photos shared each day are a number of saucy snaps.

Has Snapchat done enough to protect users? Are you asking for trouble using apps like this? Share your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.