Hackers have warned that thousands of nude images sent through Snapchat are about to be released in an online searchable database. Snapchat have responded to the news as a legitimate attack, but there are suspicions the claims are a hoax.
The images were allegedly accessed by hackers accessing a third party app – the now defunct Snapsave – which stores Snapchat pictures. Users believe the images sent on Snapchat are destroyed after they are sent and viewed but apps such as Snapsave allow users to store the data.
Users of the message board 4Chan have announced the imminent leak, which is now being referred to as “The Snappening”, a reference to “The Fappening” - the recent iCloud photo leak that saw hundreds of naked photos of celebrities released online by hackers.
The hackers claim that on Sunday 200,000 images will be realised in a searchable directory which includes Snapchat user IDs.
Snapchat has released a statement emphasising that its servers were not hacked to access the images, and the company opposes the use of third party apps that enable saving images.
“We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed.”
At the moment there is doubt over the truth behind The Snappening claims, with some believing it is an elaborate hoax.
The 4Chan posters claiming to have hacked the SnapSave system posted several images as proof, although other users were able to identify that some of those images were previously available online.
The fact that many Snapchat users are under the age of 18 means that – if the images have indeed been hacked and are released – they would constitute child pornography, and the downloading and viewing of the files would likely be a criminal offence.