These access keys link the Timehop account to various social media accounts from where Timehop pulls older social media posts and images. We learned of the breach while it was still in progress, and were able to interrupt it, but data was taken.
According to preliminary evidence from the investigation, the intrusion took place on December 19, 2017, when a hacker gained access to an admin account for Timehop's cloud infrastructure.
The company says there is no evidence that any of the stolen data has been used for criminal purposes, though of course any stolen email addresses and phone numbers could be abused in the future, dumped online for free, or sold on to other crooks in due course.
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").
Timehop revealed that its security was breached and that the data of 21 million users was compromised. Another thing the hackers got were the "keys" that allow the app to show you posts from the sources you've chosen.
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.
"If you have noticed any content not loading, it is because Timehop deactivated these proactively", the company writes. Surprisingly, the account the attacker initially used to access the servers was not secured with two-factor authentication (i.e. when you need to authorize a login in a second way, typically with a code or app on your phone). Furthermore, the company says it's communicating with local and federal law enforcement officials while working through everything.
The idea is that the app turns every day into an anniversary, reminding you of what you were doing on this day last year, three years ago, five years ago, and so on. Timehop has never stored your credit card or any financial data, location data, or IP addresses; we don't store copies of your social media profiles, we separate user information from social media content - and we delete our copies of your "Memories" after you've seen them.
Timehop says that it is investigating what happened and conducting a complete audit. "By 4:23 pm, Timehop engineers had begun to implement security measures to restore services and lock down the environment". "As soon as the incident was recognized we began a program of security upgrades".
"The breach occurred because an access credential to our cloud computing environment was compromised", the company said. We will employ the latest encryption techniques in our databases.
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