Snapchat has been the subject of a lot of controversy in the past when it was previously hacked, but Thursday’s hack of a third-party app, possibly Snapsaved, which is already being called the Snappening, may overshadow anything that has come before. On Thursday, according to an article by assistant editor Sarah Gray of Salon.com, both video messages and approximately 200,000 photographs that people had posted on Snapchat were hacked via a third-party app and released on the site, 4chan, where hackers have also posted photographs of nude celebrities.
With the app, Snapchat, the idea is that users can take photos and post them in the belief that they will disappear after 10 seconds after someone receives the photo. The person who receives it can take a screenshot of the photo, however, and if that happens, the sender is supposed to be notified about it. Also, third-party apps have been developed that let photos users send get stored by the recipients, without letting the original senders know.
Though the couple of hundred thousand photos and video messages released during the Snappening had been originally posted on Snapchat, as the Salon.com article notes, it was actually a third-party app that lets users save photographs that was hacked, rather than the Snapchat app. According to a report by U.S. News & World Report, through the use of a giant data bank, Snapchat users can be searched for at the 4chan site by name.
According to Business Insider, among the hundreds of thousands of photographs posted by the hacker or hackers to the 4chan site, there might be some photographs of nude underage Snapchat users. If this proves to be the case, as Sarah Gray mentioned in her article in Salon.com, the posting of the underage nude photos on 4chan “would also be considered child pornography.”
The video messages and photographs were posted and downloaded without the original Snapchat users’ knowledge or permission. Whoever hacked into the third-party app and stole the photos and posted them at the 4chan site was not content with the attention that nude photos of celebs provided. Now, the hacker or hackers are apparently going after average people who post photographs.
According to a statement at the 4chan site, it is “a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images.” Also, if people would like to use the service, they “do not need to register an account” beforehand. This makes the site easy for legitimate users to use it, but it also makes it a site that hackers find irresistible to use when posting hacked photos.
The hacker or hackers might be trying to raise the point that nobody who posts nude photos, or any photos, using an app is completely secure and that their belief that their photos are private is an unfounded one. However, there are other and more legal ways to get this notion across than by violating the privacy of thousands of people by stealing their photos and posting them online.
Snapchat spokespeople have said that the hacking of whatever third-party app occurred was not due to a security breach on their part. According to a report by Pedestrian TV, a Snapchat spokesperson said that the company has been successful in getting many “illegal third-party apps” removed from “the App Store and Google Play.”
The hacking of a third-party app that was designed to store Snapchat photographs, which is being called the Snappening, has resulted in possibly 200,000 photos and video messages being illegally posted at the 4chan site. The repercussions of this hacking will probably be felt for quite a long time.
Written By Douglas Cobb