Hackernoon logoHow Snapchat Accounts Get Hacked: 5 Indicators of Compromise by@jtruong

How Snapchat Accounts Get Hacked: 5 Indicators of Compromise

Snapchat is a popular social media application that is used to send photos or videos to friends. Snapchat has some vulnerabilities that may allow an attacker to hack Snapchat accounts. The security of users’ accounts is important and must be secured to prevent any accounts from being hacked. Hackers can gain a large amount of information if they are able to trick users into providing them with their two-factor authentication code and get access to all your photos and videos that you have saved. These specific types of vulnerabilities are not going away anytime soon therefore it is critical that you understand what can be done.
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Jessica Truong

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Snapchat is a popular social media application that is used to send photos or videos to friends. As with any social media application, Snapchat has some vulnerabilities that may allow an attacker to hack Snapchat accounts. The security of users’ accounts is important and must be secured to prevent any accounts from being hacked. The following are common vulnerabilities that may exist on Snapchat that could let attackers hack Snapchat accounts. I will also talk about how to protect against these attacks. 

Snapchat Hacks and Vulnerabilities:

  1. Weak Passwords
  2. Logged into your account from a different location
  3. The mobile number or email address associated with your account has been changed
  4. Denial of Service Attacks
  5. Constant re-authentication

1. Weak Passwords

If the password to your account is something so easy and common that a hacker could easily guess or brute force then they will be able to hack your Snapchat account and do whatever they want with it. Therefore, your confidentiality will be lost as they will have access to all your photos and videos that you have saved. For this reason, you should make sure that you select a strong password with a combination of numbers, symbols, lower and uppercase letters. 

Users have a tendency to utilize the same passwords for multiple social media accounts therefore it is extremely important to make sure that your passwords are strong and unique for every account. This would reduce the risk of your account being compromised. A usual site to verify that your accounts are safe is HaveIBeenPwned. Here you can see if your credentials have been leaked to the public.

2. Someone has logged into your account from a different location (i.e. state/country and/or device

Your account may have been compromised if you receive a notification that someone from a different device and state/country has logged into your Snapchat account. 

To prevent someone from being able to perform such actions, users must create a strong password that is difficult for an attacker to guess or brute force.

3. You receive a notification that the mobile number or email address associated with your Snapchat account has been changed

Once an attacker has your password, they can go into the account settings and change the email to their own. This would prevent you from ever accessing your Snapchat account since they have changed the email address and/or phone number and password. If the attacker enables two factor authentication on the hacked account then the original user will never be able to get access to it.

4. Denial of Service Attacks

In 2014, “a vulnerability in Snapchat allows attackers to launch denial-of-service attacks against users of the popular messaging app, causing their phones to become unresponsive and even crash” (Computerworld). 

Sending large amounts of messages results in an unresponsive device. This is only one example of how a denial of service attack may occur. If there are further vulnerabilities in a variety of the backend code, that could lead to other Snapchat hacks. Unfortunately, this is something that must be dealt with on Snapchat’s side and the user has no control over.

Debugging the code is extremely important to make sure that there are no unintentional backdoors that would give attackers easy access to hack Snapchat. It is also a good idea for Snapchat devs to make sure that all internal comments in the code be removed from the application code before put in production.

5. Constant re-authentication

Be aware. If you notice that every time you get on Snapchat and are asked to log in, then this could be an indicator that your account has been hacked. A user should not have to log into their account every time they go onto Snapchat. The only reason they would need to do that is if the account is being used on another device. Take appropriate precautions by changing your password and enabling two-factor authentication.

These are a few of the common vulnerabilities that may lead an attacker to hack Snapchat and users’ accounts. These specific types of vulnerabilities are not going away anytime soon therefore it is critical that you understand what can be done to keep an account and the overall organization secure.

Final Thoughts on Snapchat Hacks and Vulnerabilities

Attackers can gain a large amount of information if they are able to hack Snapchat. Just recently, cybercriminals sent Snapchat users the following two factor authentication scam message.

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They are attempting to trick users into providing them with their 6-digit two-factor authentication code and if given to the cybercriminals, they will be able to obtain access to these accounts and use them maliciously.

This is an example of a phishing attack and it would be a successful one too if users provide the six digits. Although further information is needed to confirm whether this is an actual phishing attack, there is still a good chance that some Snapchat hack may be taking place.

Hackers are constantly searching for backdoors or any weaknesses that exist and may have been missed by developers. If given the opportunity, they will take those weaknesses and run with them by creating and executing exploits to hack Snapchat and user accounts. They gain valuable data that can be sold onto the dark web.

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