Snapchat security blunder exposes 4.6 million names and phone numbers
Snapchat has been embarrassed today by the release of a database containing the user names and phone numbers of 4.6 million users in North America. One would think that a company built on the premise of non-permanence would do a better job of respecting privacy, but a major mistake has exposed plenty of private information.
Snapchat's API included a setting that allowed scripts to match phone numbers to user names and display names of its members, which could effectively create a very large database of people to spam or harass depending on someone's intentions. The company has since "made it more difficult" to do that and promised to work hard to ensure user privacy, but the SnapchatDB website has already posted millions of phone numbers associated with user names (the last two digits of each number are censored) to illustrate its point.
Episodes like this are reasons why people are often urged to think twice about uploading their contacts data for every app that they download. Not all companies will properly store the information that users share.