A file containing at least 100,000 Snapchat photos has been
collected by hackers who were preparing to publish them online,
according to a report on the Business Insider blog. Snapchat lets
users send photos and videos that disappear in seconds.
"We can confirm that Snapchat servers were never breached and were
not the source of these leaks," the company said in an emailed
Users were "allegedly victimized by their use of third-party apps to
send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our
A Snapchat representative noted the company's statement was based on
reports of leaked photos, and that it could not verify whether
hackers had breached third-party software containing stolen Snapchat
Snapchat, one of a crop of new apps that compete with Twitter Inc
and Facebook Inc, is popular among teenagers. Some media reports
raised concerns that the hackers' file could contain nude "selfie"
pictures of teens who expected the photos to be deleted.
Leaked photos could also become problematic for Snapchat, which has
faced criticism over privacy practices. It is now raising money in a
funding round that would give it a $10 billion valuation, according
Reuters was unable to verify whether any Snapchat photos had been
According to Business Insider, hackers may have obtained the photos
by breaching third-party services that allow consumers to save the
Snapchat photos they receive. Users of the online forum 4Chan
downloaded the files and are creating a searchable database of the
stolen photos, the report said.
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Tal Klein, a vice president at cloud security firm Adallom, said he
could not rule out the possibility that the entire incident was a
He noted that some of the purported Snapchat photos posted on 4Chan
had digital signatures that matched his firm's database of stolen
images previously circulated online.
That suggests the episode could be fictitious, or that the supposed
cache of new photos was a collection of previously stolen Snapchat
images aggregated by hackers, said Klein.
The potential publishing of private Snapchat photos comes shortly
after nude pictures of actress Jennifer Lawrence and images
purporting to be of dozens of other actresses were posted on 4Chan.
Media reports said Apple Incís iCloud accounts had apparently been
hacked to obtain the photos.
In May, Snapchat settled charges with U.S. regulators accusing it of
deceiving customers by promising that photos on its service
disappeared forever. According to the Federal Trade Commission,
photos sent on Snapchat could be saved using several methods.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Matthew Lewis)
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