Snapchat said it will soon release a new version of its app with improved security measures in response to a group of hackers who this week exposed the phone numbers of millions of users by taking advantage of a vulnerability in the popular photo-messaging app.
The upcoming app update will allow users to opt out of Snapchat's "Find Friends" feature, which lets users find others they may know by looking up their friends' phone numbers. The feature was exploited by hackers this week to create a database containing the user names and corresponding phone numbers for more than 4.6 million of the app's users.
Opting out of the feature will enable users to keep their phone numbers hidden.
"The Snapchat community is a place where friends feel comfortable expressing themselves and we’re dedicated to preventing abuse," the company said in its blog post.
Snapchat did not say when exactly it plans on releasing the app update.
The database of compromised user names and phone numbers was published by anonymous hackers after the Los Angeles start-up was warned multiple times of the vulnerability in the "Find Friends" feature. Gibson Security, the group that first noticed the security hole, said it contacted Snapchat about the issue in August but was ignored.
Snapchat said security experts can contact the company to point out any problems by emailing email@example.com.