Thousands of teenagers’ private photographs, stolen from the photo messaging service Snapchat, are leaked online by hackers in the so-called “Snappening”.
More than 90,000 photographs from across the world were released on Sunday night via social media networks such as 4chan and Snapchat.
Hackers say they have been intercepting Snapchat photographs for years. The leak comes weeks after hundreds of naked pictures of celebrities were also leaked online.
Most of Snapchat’s users are aged between 13 and 17 years old. Because of the age of Snapchat’s users, there are concerns that the stolen photos will include indecent images of children.
People who have downloaded the file of images have reported that it contains a large amount of child pornography.
Read more: What is the Snappening?
Under UK law it is illegal to take, possess, show, distribute or advertise indecent images of children and anyone who downloads photos of underage children will be committing a criminal offence.
Snapsaved, a third party app that allows Snapchat users to save images without the sender knowing, said on Monday that it had been hacked and 500 megabytes of images stolen.
A statement on the app’s Facebook page said: “Snapsaved has always tried to fight child pornography, we have even gone as far, as to reporting some of our users to the Swedish and Norwegian authorities.
“As soon as we discovered the breach in our systems, we immediately deleted the entire website and the database associated with it. As far as we can tell, the breach has effected 500MB of images, and 0 personal information from the database.”
The statement said that the majority of Snapsaved users are Swedish, Norwegian and American.
“I sincerely apologise on the behalf of snapsaved.com, we never wished for this to happen,” the statement said. “We did not wish to cause SnapChat or their users any harm, we only wished to provide a unique service.”
Pictures sent via Snapchat are expected to be deleted shortly after being received. However, photographs are kept for 30 days if they have not been opened.
Some third party apps have been able to access Snapchat photographs – and it is thought the leak has happened through one of these apps.
On the weekend, Snapchat said: “We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks.
“We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed.”