Snapchat says sorry for the hack, with a tweak to its app

The company's mobile app now lets users de-link their phone numbers from their usernames

Snapchat's app on iOS.

Snapchat's app on iOS.

Snapchat has incorporated a phone number opt-out feature into its mobile app in response to a recent hacking incident -- the company's latest effort to convince users that their personal information is safe.

The change was made partially to address a data breach last week in which hackers made off with the usernames and phone numbers of more than 4 million users. A vulnerability in Snapchat's system allowed the hackers to match phone numbers with Snapchat accounts, the attackers said at the time.

Giving Snapchat your phone number is optional, but it is designed help the app connect people by displaying the accounts of Snapchat users who match the phone numbers in people's address books. Previously, there was not a way to remove or de-link your phone number after giving it to Snapchat.

But now, given the hacking incident, Snapchat said on Thursday it was updating its app on both iOS and Android to include a way for users to opt out of linking their phone number with their username, if they have already given the number to Snapchat. The company did not say, however, that it would delete users' phone numbers from its databases if users subsequently elect to opt out.

The change, to be clear, simply gives people the option, at any time, to de-link their phone number from their username.

The update also requires new Snapchat users to verify their phone number before using the linking service, which the company calls "Find Friends."

In conjunction with the software update, Snapchat also issued an overdue apology for last week's data breach.

"We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you and we really appreciate your patience in support," the company said in a blog post. More improvements will be made down the line to prevent future attempts to abuse the company's system, Snapchat said.

Since the hack, Snapchat, which is based in Los Angeles, has been criticized for playing things a little too cool. Prior to the incident, the company characterized the initial claims describing the potential for a hack as being theoretical.

Last week, the company said it would be letting people opt out of the compromised feature, asking security experts to contact them when they discover vulnerabilities in its system, though the company stopped short of an actual apology.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicestelecommunicationSnapChatapplicationsiossocial networkingmobileinternetprivacymobile applicationsAndroid OSsecuritydata breachMobile OSessocial mediadata protection

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?