Timehop Suffers Data Breach

A massive data breach on Timehop app has exposed the private details of more than 21 million people according to a new report. The service links to users social media accounts and claims to be'reinventing reminiscing by resurfacing old phot

A service named "Timehop" that claims it is "reinventing reminiscing" - in part by linking posts from other social networks - probably wishes it could go back in time and reinvent its own security, because it has just confessed to losing data describing 21 million members and can't guarantee that the perps didn't slurp private info from users' social media accounts.

The breach affected 21 million users, including their names, some email addresses, and approximately 4.7 million phone numbers attached to their accounts. No private/direct messages, financial data, or social media or photo content, or Timehop data including streaks were affected. Timehop also pointed out that there was no indication that any account was illegitimately accessed.

According to a preliminary review of the attack, hackers used a compromised administrative user's credentials to penetrate Timehop's cloud computing provider starting in mid-December. In the worst case scenario, hackers could use the stolen number to access bank accounts.

The company said it has reset all its keys out of "abundance of caution", which will require users to re-authenticate their Timehop accounts before again using its service.

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"Tokens" provided by social media profiles to Timehop for gaining access to posts and images were also taken.

However, Timehop claims that the tokens were deauthorized and made invalid within a "short time window" and can not be used to gain access to users' social media profiles.

"We want to be clear that these tokens do not give anyone (including Timehop) access to Facebook Messenger, or Direct Messages on Twitter or Instagram, or things that your friends post to your Facebook wall". These keys have been since deactivated, which makes them useless for the attackers. There was a very short time window when the access tokens were still active allowing the attackers to view social media posts, but Timehop has found no evidence so far that this happened.

The attacker then logged on intermittently from December to June to conduct reconnaissance, the company says. "We have now taken steps that include multifactor authentication to secure our authorization and access controls on all accounts".

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Breach reporting requirements are baked into Europe's recently updated data protection framework, the GDPR, which puts the onus firmly on data controllers to disclose breaches to supervisory authorities - and to do so quickly - with the regulation setting a universal standard of within 72 hours of becoming aware of it (unless the personal data breach is unlikely to result in "a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons").

The company said it is now working with law enforcement and cyber-security firms to track down the intruders and secure its infrastructure.

The company said it has notified all European Union users in accordance with the new General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.

Most of the data included user names and email addresses.

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