Snapchat users may find their private photos leaked on the internet message board 4chan, with The Huffington Post reporting that at least 200,000 photos sent through the Snapchat messaging app were stolen and leaked online this week. Not only is this a huge privacy issue, it’s a major concern for parents — at least 50 percent of Snapchat users are teens, with the majority between the age of 13 and 17.
Snapchat claims that their app was not compromised directly in what’s being called “The Snappening.” Instead, the photos were likely hacked through third-party Snapchat apps, with speculation that the Snapsave app was targeted. A spokeswoman for Snapchat tells The Huffington Post that many third-party apps, like Snapsave, save pictures without letting the sender know.
— Chris Espinosa (@chrisexp) January 3, 2014
CBS News reports that the stolen Snapchat photos may include nude photos of teens. The app is extremely popular with teens and it is widely assumed that many of the photos will not be of fully-clothed kids. If any of the leaked photos of underage Snapchatters are found to be pornographic in nature, the hackers could face serious prison time for both possession and distribution of the photos.
We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks. — Snapchat (@Snapchat) October 10, 2014
Snapchatters were victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our ToU.
— Snapchat (@Snapchat) October 10, 2014
This isn’t the first time Snapchat has been in the news for hacking. Although the app developer blames third party apps for Thursday’s photo leaks, Forbes reported last January that 4.6 million Snapchat users’ accounts were compromised due to hackers collecting and leaking their usernames and phone numbers online. A database of user information was reportedly uploaded to SnapchatDB.info, a site that was taken down shortly after the hack was discovered.
Anyone who uses a third-party Snapchat app may want to delete it, especially in light of Thursday’s photo hacking. When using the official app, the sender is at least notified that their recipient took a screenshot of their photo, something that typically doesn’t happen with other apps. The third-party apps leave users wide-open for hacking due to the fact that there is no automatic photo destruction, making it easy for recipients to save photos they receive without the sender knowing.
Do you use third-party Snapchat apps? Now that there is word that at least 200,000 Snapchat photos were hacked, will you stop using the app?
[Image: NBC Twitter]