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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediaprivacymobileinternetiossocial networkingdata protectionmobile applicationsapplicationstelecommunicationInternet-based applications and servicesMobile OSesAndroid OSSnapChat

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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?