Details have emerged on a phishing attack which saw hackers steal the credentials of over 50,000 Snapchat users in an attack last year.,
According to the Verge, Snap’s director of engineering Chad DePue sent an email to company employees about a threat against users’ privacy, originally raised by a UK government official from Dorset. A website, called klviral.org, had published a list of credentials purporting to be usernames and passwords of a total of 55,851 Snapchat accounts.
Although all of the listed credentials weren’t legitimate, Snap took the call to reset the passwords of thousands of Snapchat users. Still, for an unknown and undisclosed amount of time, the users have had their Snapchat account credentials exposed to users on the public website.
The Verge, citing a source, said the attack stemmed from a phishing link sent to users from a compromised account. When clicked, a website purporting to be the Snapchat login screen shows up, fooling users into providing their credentials. While companies like Facebook routinely scan links to identify phishing scams and block them, Snap’s measures left the social media company come short in the cybersecurity stakes.
A spokesman told the publication:
“We are very sorry when anyone is tricked by phishing. While we can’t prevent people from sharing their Snapchat credentials with third parties, we do have advanced defenses to detect and prevent suspicious activity. We encourage Snapchatters to always use strong passwords, enable login Verification, and never use third-party apps or plugins.”
Snap specifically noticed a single device had been logging into a large number of accounts. While the account was flagged, the damage was already done. It is unclear how long the attack went on for or when it had begun. What is known, however, is that the attack is believed to have been coordinated from the Dominican Republic. While the total amount of compromised account is relatively meager to Snap’s 187 million active users, the incident is a stark reminder of how popular populated platforms are vulnerable to the simplest threats.
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