The notoriously loopy Stanford marching band created a stir at yesterday's Rose Bowl game after (incorrectly) forming the Snapchat ghost during halftime. Why? Well, company founders, Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy, created the startup while attending Stanford in 2011. And what the lauded private school possibly wanted to convey to their average public school competitors was this: "You guys might really be good at football, but here at Stanford, we're good at football and creating multibillion dollar companies."
But the marching band might have been a bit too cocky. (Take it from KTVU; a lack of humility will come back to bang ding ow you.) On Wednesday, a site called SnapchatDB.info hacked the photo sharing site and obtained usernames and phone numbers for 4.6 million accounts. The group responsible for the act explained their motives to Tech Crunch, saying:
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. It is understandable that tech startups have limited resources but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does.
We used a modified version of gibsonsec’s exploit/method. Snapchat
could have easily avoided that disclosure by replying to Gibsonsec’s private communications, yet they didn’t. Even long after that disclosure, Snapchat was reluctant to taking the necessary steps to secure user data. Once we started scraping on a large scale, they decided to implement very minor obstacles, which were still far from enough. Even now the exploit persists. It is still possible to scrape this data on a large scale. Their latest changes are still not too hard to circumvent.
We wanted to minimize spam and abuse that may arise from this release. Our main goal is to raise public awareness on how reckless many internet companies are with user information. It is a secondary goal for them, and that should not be the case. You wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurant that spends millions on decoration, but barely anything on cleanliness.
Michigan State went on to win the Rose Bowl, 24-20.