Updated: 01/02/2014 3:21 PM
Created: 01/02/2014 1:09 AM WHEC.com
By: James Eng, NBC News
Someone claiming to be behind the reported leak of private account information on millions of Snapchat users says the goal was to raise public awareness about online security holes in the popular photo-sharing app.
A website called SnapchatDB.info went online on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, offering for download what it said was a database containing the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat accounts. The last two digits of the phone numbers were blacked out.
“This database contains username and phone number pairs of a vast majority of the Snapchat users. This information was acquired through the recently patched Snapchat exploit and is being shared with the public to raise awareness on the issue,” the site said.
“The company was too reluctant at patching the exploit until they knew it was too late and companies that we trust with our information should be more careful when dealing with it.”
By Wednesday morning, the site was taken down, but not before several visitors said they managed to download the database.
In a follow-up statement Wednesday to several tech media sites, including The Verge and TechCrunch, SnapchatDB said:
“Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed...Security matters as much as user experience does.”
Snapchat officials did not immediately respond to an email request for comment from NBC News.
To see if you were part of the user leak, click here.
Courtesy James Eng, NBC News.