Reports this weekend claim that hackers plan to release as many as 200,000 photos and videos captured on Snapchat by a third-party app. Some say the announcement could be a hoax.
Snapchat is a social photo sharing website in which photos are temporarily shown and then erased. It has been known for the risque nature of photos shared by users, who presume that the photos will only exist for a few moments.
Now, to the horror of some Snapchat users, these “temporary” photos may have been saved and could be released.
Referred to as “The Snappening” by 4chan, users have claimed that 200,000 compromising photos would be released on October 12 and would include the user’s ID. The photos were said to have been accessed from an app called Snapsave, or possibly a lesser-known website called SnapSaved. Both of these services allow users to save their photos, but allegedly also allowed hackers to gain access to them. “The Snappening” is a play on the word “Fappening” which is the term used to describe the September 2014 release of celebrity nude photos.
Business Insider said the number of photos is more likely around 100,000, and amounted to a total of a 13gb library of images. 4chan users are said to be creating a searchable database, allowing the images to be searched by username.
Snapchat released a statement in which they noted that their servers had not been hacked, but that the service had been “victimized” by third-party apps.
“We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed.”
Engadget reached out to the makers of Snapsave, who said their servers were “never breached and were not the source of these leaks.” This has led to focus on the lesser-known web application SnapSaved. That website is no longer functional, and little is known about how it stored or potentially transmitted photos.
Claims of Hoax
Some have suggested that “The Snappening” could simply be a hoax. No confirmed photos have yet been released, Snapsave has denied that its servers were breached, and Snapsaved is now a blank website. It is also suggested that a image released as “proof” of the leak could be found elsewhere online.
It has been further suggested that this could be another hoax to cast a negative spotlight on 4chan, similar to a recent hoax which alleged the release of nude photos of Emma Watson.
With the sheer number of risque photos said to be hacked, it has been suggested that underage individuals could be included among the leaked images. Half of Snapchat’s users are between the ages of 13 and 17. This could potentially mean criminal charges against anyone who shares or downloads these leaked photos.
It isn’t clear yet if “The Snappening” is a true hacking event or not. If it turns out to be real, it will likely will have resulted in the saving of photos from a third-party Snapchat application.
Unfortunately, to determine if this is a hoax, we’ll have to wait and see. As the alleged event is said to occur on October 12, our wait should not be very long.