Snapchat, Skype Accounts Hacked

Posted at: 01/02/2014 10:45 PM
Updated at: 01/02/2014 10:52 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Following a recent security breach at Target that affected millions of people nationwide, a new hack attack on two popular social media sites has compromised personal information for millions of users.

Just days after it was warned about potential security risks, Snapchat, the widely popular photo and video sharing app, was hacked by an anonymous group who infiltrated the program and posted the user names and partial phone numbers of roughly 4.6 million users online.

Although officials for the app said they implemented “various safeguards” to try and avoid the problem, hackers still managed to get past their security.

"Many times when a company says it doesn't see a problem, it's because it doesn't see a problem,” said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent who specializes in internet security. “The level of cyber expertise goes all over the chart from one company to the next."

Also this holiday season, another group hacked into Skype, a popular videoconferencing program, taking control of its blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Although in that case no personal information was stolen, officials say the fight to maintain security is a constant battle.

"It's an everyday thing. We see a lot of issues, a lot of viruses,” said Michael Sletten, owner of Computer Connection, a computer and software maintenance company in Austin,

Sletten said the best way to keep yourself safe is to check your security programs regularly.

"Just make sure your firewall is going, make sure your internet security is up-to-date, make sure your malware software is working properly,” Sletten said. “And if it looks too good to be true on the internet, most likely it is."

But when it comes to personal information, experts said if you don't want it made public, don't put it online.

"It's almost like you're at war 24-7,” Garrett said. “My suggestion to everybody is just be responsible about what you place on a site."

If you are unsure about an app or program, experts suggest researching it, saying a little time spent investigating can help prevent costly headaches down the road.

We want to know what you think about these security breaches, are they enough to change the way you use social media?  You can tell us on our Facebook page.