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Students react to Snapchat leak

Ben Goldschlager

It isn’t uncommon to walk around the halls of Staples and see students making goofy faces into the cameras of their phones. Chances are, they’re sending a photo to a friend on the popular app Snapchat, a popular photo sharing app for smartphones.

On Tuesday, Dec. 31, an anonymous hacking group leaked the usernames, phone numbers and approximate geographical locations of 4.6 million snapchat users who had entered their information upon downloading the app.

The website in which the numbers are stored,, explains that, “People tend to use the same username around the web so you can use this information to find phone number information associated with Facebook and Twitter accounts, or simply to figure out the phone numbers of people you wish to get in touch with.”

Bea Vega ’15, a Snapchat user, explained that despite the magnitude of people affected by the leak, she has minimal concern.

“I feel like [the leak] could happen to anything, but the chances of it happening to me are slim to nothing, so it doesn’t really worry me… I don’t think anything would happen from my phone number being leaked,” she said.

Most users have little reason for concern, as the hackers have left out the last two digits of phone numbers. According to their website, this was done “in order to minimize spam and abuse,” but they will give all of the digits upon special request.

Another Snapchat user, Giselle Briand ’17, was more concerned for the safety of her information than Vega. She explained that if the hackers had leaked pictures and not personal information she wouldn’t have been as nervous.

“I don’t send anything inappropriate so I don’t really care if someone sees my snapchats,” she said. “I would probably feel unsafe [if my information was leaked]. I wouldn’t want random people snapchatting me.”

Even though Snapchat is ubiquitous among Staples’ iPhone users, a majority of students were not aware of the hack or the potential that their information had been leaked.

Connor Mathewson ’16 was among the students who hadn’t heard of the security breach. Upon hearing about the leak, Mathewson reconsidered sharing his phone number online.

“I snapchat regularly and I feel very uncomfortable [with entering my personal information],” he said.

Mathewson explained that he would be concerned if his username was circulated because of the content of the pictures he sends.

“I like to utilize snapchat to send things to my friends. It’s not a big deal, but I definitely swear a lot in my snapchats, so that’s not something I want to be known for.”

Snapchat has confirmed the leak and issued an apology on Jan. 9 on the app’s blog after pressure from the public to do so.

“Our team continues to make improvements to the Snapchat service to prevent future attempts to abuse our API. We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you, and we really appreciate your patience and support,” the company said.

The company also released a new version of the app that should close the hole that left users’ information vulnerable to hackers.

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About the Contributors
Greta Bjornson
Greta Bjornson, News Editor
After three years of writing for Inklings, Greta Bjornson ’15 is news page editor, and has a passion for creative writing and protecting the environment. Her favorite types of articles to write are feature articles, and although she admits to not being the “loudest person in class,” her writing lets her express her wit, especially in her column Pumpkin gone wrong: the worst pumpkin foods. Outside of Inklings, she does all that she can to make a difference in the world since she knows that the environment is facing many problems right now. “My family gets really annoyed with me because I am crazy about recycling,” Bjornson said. She even admits to taking plastic items out of the trash when placed in the wrong bin. She is mainly interested in marine biology, and since she is certified in scuba diving she has done a volunteer trip to rebuild a coral reef off of Key West, Florida. Becoming a marine biologist is very important to Bjornson, but she also would like to write for a magazine when she grows up. “With whatever I end up doing, I just want to make a difference some way,” Bjornson said. With her drive to improve the world’s conflict, she is going to be a news editor who will always be dedicated to her work.  
Ben Goldschlager
Ben Goldschlager, Web News Editor

Ben Goldschlager ’14 is an involved member of the Staples and Westport communities. He’s the president of the Model UN and Artists’ Club, the web news editor for Inklings and is involved in Debate Team, Junior States of America and Young Democrats.

Goldschlager has also spent time volunteering at the library working with the new 3D printers. He gets to train people from the ages of 7 to 60 on how to use them, and he can print things for fun and for practical reasons.

“We have a bookcase at my house that uses these little plastic pins to support the shelves,” Goldschlager said, “but we’d lost two, so I designed and printed two replacement pins and they work.”

After writing his favorite piece, “5 Ways to Seem Like You Get Pop Culture” last year, Goldschlager is excited to come back for a second year of reporting for Inklings.

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