Sometimes it’s just easier to say you’re sorry.
On the heels of a highly publicized security breach of the service, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel sat down with The Today Show to explain what his team has been doing to safeguard against further issues. On New Year’s Eve, hackers exploited a security vulnerability that Snapchat had been warned about long in advance.
The only thing missing? An apology.
“I believe at the time we thought we had done enough, but in a business like this if you spend your time looking backwards, you’re just gonna kill yourself,” Spiegel said in the interview.
Using a loophole in the Find Friends service, hackers were able to make account names and phone numbers searchable, exposing the information of nearly five million Snapchat users (including members of the Re/code staff).
Since the hack occurred earlier this week, the company has been criticized for not adequately responding to security firms’ warnings about the service’s vulnerability — which was pointed out to Snapchat in August. At the time, Snapchat responded in a blog post, dismissing the issue as a “theoretical” point of attack.
The way the hack was brought to a tipping point, however, is certainly a point of debate worth mulling over. The anonymous group that made Snapchat user phone numbers and account names searchable are generally considered “white hat” hackers — essentially a name for those who find system vulnerabilities in order to warn the affected party, not to profit from them.
Spiegel and company don’t see it that way. “We call it abuse of the Find Friends service,” he said.
Snapchat will soon release an update to its app in which it claims to prevent further compromise of the tool. “The key is striking a balance between providing a utility of a Find Friends service and preventing abuse,” he said.
Watch the full segment below.