Timehop data breach: why holding personal information centrally must end

Twenty-one million users have had their personal data stolen after Timehop, an app that connects to social media profiles to resurface old picture and posts, was hacked.

The stolen data, mainly names and email addresses, was taken in an attack on the app’s cloud environment on July 4.

Around a fifth of users – around 4.7 million users – also had phone numbers linked to their accounts taken.

Additionally, ‘keys’ provided by social media profiles so that Timehop could access posts and images were also taken, although Timehop said these were quickly deactivated.

Timehop has admitted that the accounts did not have any form of multi-step verification in place, which is very unusual for companies handling large amounts of personal data.

Obviously we’re always sorry to hear of company data breaches – no-one ever wants that to happen, to themselves or others in the industry.

But it remains a reality that storing personal data centrally creates an attractive honeypot for hackers, in a way that returning data to individuals does not.

The dangers inherent in central information storage, especially sensitive data such as health and financials, have always been a key part of why digi.me puts individuals back in control of their own personal data.

More, they are absolutely key to why we don’t see, touch nor hold data, ever – and this needs to become the global standard going forwards.

Increasingly as well, services offered by single-purpose apps are being wrapped into others. A longstanding element of digi.me, for example, is our Flashback tool, which also resurfaces historical pictures for users to enjoy again.

Data security will become ever more important as we live more and more of our lives online. Storage of those digital footprints needs to be fit for the age we live in.

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