Nude Snapchat photos reportedly accessed by hacker group

Giant database of pictures which users thought were deleted released on chat forum

A giant database of Snapchat photos, reportedly including naked "selfies", has been released by hackers who have been collecting the files for years, it has been reported.

Business Insider said the notorious chat forum 4chan had referred to the hack as “The Snappening”. It said underground photo-trading chat rooms had been filled in recent weeks with rumours.

The site claimed a third-party Snapchat client app had been collecting every single photo and video file sent through it for years, giving hackers access to a 13GB library of Snapchat pictures that users had believed were deleted.

Users of 4chan have downloaded the files and are creating a searchable database that will allow people to search the stolen images by Snapchat username.


Snapchat said today it's not at fault for a leak of images from its service. Photos from Snapchat users were posted onto the internet yesterday, even though the Los Angeles-based startup bills itself as a service that deletes pictures after they're sent.

In a statement today, the company said it wasn’t responsible for the incident and blamed third-party apps that people had been using with Snapchat for the leak.

"We can confirm that Snapchat's servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks," Mary Ritti, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement.

“Snapchatters were victimised 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.”

Snapchat, which is valued at $10 billion (€7.93 billion), apologised for a breach earlier this year that caused data such as users’ phone numbers to be exposed. The startup also had to settle claims by the USFederal Trade Commission in May that it deceived users by falsely promising its photo messages would “disappear forever” after they were shared, even though there are several workarounds.

Snapchat's statement today that it isn't at fault echoes the comments made by Apple last month after nude photos from celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence who had used its iCloud service were leaked onto the web.

While Apple ended up increasing security features, the Cupertino, California-based company said at the time that iCloud wasn't breached and that hackers targeted celebrity accounts using security questions and passwords.

Snapchat said it “vigilantly” monitors third-party apps for security and has succeeded in getting “dozens” of them removed from app stores. Ms Ritti said Snapchat doesn’t know which third-party apps were responsible for the leak.

The company, led by chief executive Evan Spiegel, is under scrutiny as it has ridden its fast user growth to a position as an elite technology startup.

Users send more than 700 million disappearing “snaps” a day through the service and more than 500 million stories are viewed daily, the company has said.