Add-on site Snapsaved says it was Snapchat leak source

13/10/14

Snapchat on a smartphone

It probably seemed like a good idea - outsmart Snapchat by using a website that allows you to store your pictures.

But now Snapsaved.com appears to have admitted that hundreds of thousands of its users have had their (sometimes very private, and even illegal) pictures stolen.

Snapchat, the original app, says its system was not breached in any way.

Snapsaved.com said they "immediately deleted the entire website and the database" once the hack was discovered.

But it could be too late.

Using third-party websites is against Snapchat's terms of use because they can be more easily hacked.

They told Newsbeat: "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 dozens of these removed."

Screen grab
Image caption The statement issued on Facebook, apparently from Snapsaved.com

Over the weekend a hacker claimed to be preparing to publish a searchable database of photographs from users.

However, the website doesn't believe enough data was stolen to achieve that.

A Facebook account which claims to be from the people behind Snapsaved.com posted: "The recent rumours about the snappening are a hoax. The hacker does not have sufficient information to live up to his claims of creating a searchable Database.

"Our users had to consent to all the content they received via SnapSaved.com, as we mentioned, we tried to cleanse the database of inappropriate images as often as possible.

"The majority of our users are Swedish, Norwegian and American."

They say they "sincerely apologize" for what's happened.

However, the issue doesn't end there and could become a lot more serious.

It's understood some of the stolen images were of teenagers below the age of 16. That makes them automatically indecent and illegal images of children.

"Snapsaved has always tried to fight child pornography, we have even gone as far as reporting some of our users to the Swedish and Norwegian authorities.

"As far as we can tell, the breach has effected 500MB of images, and 0 personal information."

Snapchat says it is not responsible for any of the leaks.

Some critics say they should make it harder for third-party websites to access their system, even if users enter their passwords willingly.

We've asked two app designers, and they both agree that the technology is there for Snapchat to push back harder against add-ons like Snapsaved.com.

Jon Hockings is a senior engineer with the mobile software development company The App Business in London. He said: "Considering their demographic is made up of such a young audience, perhaps they should take a little more responsibility, be a little bit extra careful and make sure their security is as good as they can be."

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