independent

Friday 18 April 2014

255,000 Irish users possibly affected by Snapchat hack

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One of Ireland’s most-used daily messaging service has been hacked, with phone numbers and usernames published. (Photo posed)

One of Ireland’s most-used daily messaging service has been hacked, with phone numbers and usernames published.

Snapchat, which is used by 255,000 Irish adults on a daily basis, has seen some of its users’ details published on the internet by an organisation dedicated to highlighting flaws in the social media service’s security settings.

The published phone numbers do not include the last two digits, however.

“This information was acquired through the recently patched Snapchat exploit and is being shared with the public to raise awareness on the issue,” said a statement from the hackers.

“The company was too reluctant at patching the exploit until they knew it was too late and companies that we trust with our information should be more careful when dealing with it. For now, we have censored the last two digits of the phone numbers in order to minimise spam and abuse.”

According to the Irish polling firm Ipsos MRBI, 13pc of Irish adults use Snapchat. The service is used even more by younger teenagers and children, with nine out of ten Irish Snapchat users under the age of 35.

Snapchat has been the focus of intense speculation in recent months, with the company reportedly turning down a $3bn cash bid from Facebook.

The social media service has risen to prominence due to its ease of use and its default setting of deleting messages after a few seconds. This has made the service particularly popular with teenagers, who dislike parental oversight on social media communications.

Snapchat vies with Whatsapp (22pc of Irish adults), Viber (33pc) and Facebook Messenger (33pc) for the attention of Irish social messaging users.

According to figures from Ireland's telecoms regulator, such services are gradually replacing SMS text messages, which are declining in volume by over 10pc annually in Ireland.

By Adrian Weckler

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