Snapchat Promises Security Fixes After Hack

Hackers accessed only names and phone numbers—not private pictures—using the app, Snapchat says

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Snapchat promised security fixes Thursday after hackers leaked 4.6 million phone numbers and user names from the photo-sharing app.

In a blog post on the company’s site, Snapchat said the breach was the result of an “abuse” of their “find friends” feature.

“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,” the company said. “We’re also improving rate limiting (which would reduce the speed at which anyone can access phone numbers from Snapchat’s databases) and other restrictions to address future attempts to abuse our service.”

The company has not announced when the update will be released.

Computer-security research firm Gibson Security had warned Snapchat in August about the app’s vulnerabilities that led to the January hack, but Snapchat ignored the advice. The company has said it will be more open to communication with firms such as Gibson.

“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,” Snapchat said.

Snapchat has skyrocketed in popularity precisely because of the privacy it promises users. The app’s pictures self-destruct after a period of time.

The company said phone numbers and user names were the only information accessed by the hackers—not pictures or videos.