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21 Million Timehop Users Affected By Recent Security Breach

"Enact two-factor authentification" plead experts

By Umar Hassan

Nostalgic social network Timehop is the latest company to face a major data breach. The app provider said 21 million of its users have had data stolen, including names, email addresses and phone numbers.

They say on the post that: “No private/direct messages, financial data, or social media or photo content, or Timehop data including streaks were affected.”

The company follows Whitbread, the owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn in losing user data to hackers in recent weeks.

Ticketmaster and Adidas were also recently affected by recent security and data breaches, with personal and payment data being stolen.

How Did the Breach Happen?

The Timehop breach happened on Wednesday 4 July 2018, with access credentials in their cloud computing environment was compromised at 2:04pm U.S. Eastern Time (7.23pm GMT).

The company identified the attack a few hours later at 4:23pm U.S. Eastern Time (9:23pm GMT).

Engineers within Timehop locked out the attacker and implemented security measures to restore services for users.

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Timehop emphasised that no-one has had access to any “unauthorised” user data and that any “access tokens” would not provide access to the social media networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Malicious actors who would have been able to access a user’s Timehop account to look at their social media posts without their permission have had their access tokens terminated.

The company added: “All the compromised tokens have been deauthorised, and are no longer valid. In addition to our communications with local and federal law enforcement, we are also in contact with all our social media providers, and will update users as needed, but again: there are no credible reports, and there has been no evidence of, any unauthorised use of these access tokens.”

James Houghton, Chief Technical Officer at ThinkMarble said in an emailed statement: “There are also technical learnings to take from this breach. Firstly, GDPR-compliant strategies need to employ data obfuscation and pseudonymisation. Article 3 of the legislation makes clear that the processing of data requires a system that anonymises individual customer data entirely. It appears Timehop failed to do this.”

He added: “Secondly, as far back as December 2017 it appears that Timehop failed to enact two-factor authentication. This is especially concerning given this should be considered a minimum requirement. This is yet another example of businesses not going back to basics and covering the fundamentals of cyber and information security.”

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