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The Snappening: Massive leak exposes thousands of nude photos and videos

Zach Epstein
October 10th, 2014 at 9:30 AM
The Snappening

It looks like celebrities aren’t the only targets for hackers in search of nude photos and videos. Following a series of iCloud hacks dubbed “The Fappening” that led to the release of hundreds of nude and risqué celebrity photos, hundreds of thousands of Snapchat users will wake up on Friday morning to find that their private images and video clips have been stolen and leaked on the web. Snapchat allows users to exchange photo and video messages that are automatically erased after a period of time, but many people utilize third-party Snapchat clients that automatically save the images and videos before they are deleted.

As it turns out, at least one of those third-party clients has been hacked, and the perpetrators have been saving each and every piece of media viewed with its service for the past two years. Now, all of those photos and videos have been leaked.

FROM EARLIER: It’s Apple’s fault that the world has seen naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence

While Snapchat has a number of uses, one of the most obvious is the exchange of racy photos and videos. As a result, the service has become a target for hackers looking to intercept nude photos, and the least attack is the mother lode.

As noted by Kenny Withers (NSFW), about 200,000 Snapchat users have fallen victim to an ongoing breach that has taken place over the past two years. According to the report, all users of the cloud service Snapsave, which allows people to permanently save photos and videos sent via Snapchat, can be counted among the victims of this latest leak.

The worst part is that people sending Snapchats often don’t realize the people to whom they are sending photos and videos are using third-party services to keep the files. Also of note, Snapchat’s user base consists largely of teenagers under the age of 18, so many of the leaked photos are in fact child pornography.

Online forum is once again the site people are using to post the leaked photos and videos.

UPDATE: Snapchat issued the following statement regarding this leak to VentureBeat:

We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks. Snapchatters were victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our Terms of Use precisely because they compromise our users’ security. We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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