Snapchat, Skype are Hacked over the Holidays

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With Edward Snowden’s recent revelations regarding NSA spying, many Internet users have been looking for more covert ways to keep in touch with friends. Snapchat seemed to offer the ideal solution. By only allowing images and video to be viewed for 30 seconds before disappearing forever (and also by notifying users if the recipient took a screen shot), users felt safe and secure with Snapchat.

That impenetrable image, though, was fractured Wednesday morning, when 4.6 million Snapchat user names and phone numbers were posted online by anonymous hackers. It’s unclear if the hackers’ intention was simply to disrupt the lives of users or if they were trying to make a broader point. Either way, it seems clear that if a hacker can break into Snapchat’s servers, it shouldn’t be difficult for federal agencies to gain access, as well.

In other hacking news, Skype’s official blog, Twitter and Facebook pages were each taken over by the Syrian Electronic Army (or a group claiming as much), with messages such as “Stop Spying on People! Via Syrian Electronic Army” and “Don’t use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook). They are monitoring your accounts and selling it to the governments.”

Larry Slobodzian, senior solutions engineer for LockPath, spoke out on the issue today, noting that he believes these problems can be avoided. “LockPath believes that breaches like these can prevented with a proactive, holistic approach to security and compliance, and can discuss how an enterprise-wide approach to managing governance, risk and compliance (GRC) can prevent future breaches,” Slobodzian said.

Companies such as Snapchat and Skype seem to still be concerned about the possibility of future hacks. The Snapchat hack, in particular, came several days after a Dec. 27 blog post on the company’s website explained that Snapchat’s Find Friends feature allows users to upload their contact lists and link with friends.

The phrasing in the post was interesting, in that Snapchat claimed to have implemented safeguards to make an exploit “more difficult to do.” If Snapchat had said that such a breach would be impossible, they’d not only be wrong, but at the time, they may have invited the most persistent hackers to prove them wrong. Perhaps even with their slight boast of security, the company did just that.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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