'The Snappening': nude Snapchat pictures leaked
Thousands of Snapchat pictures, many of users aged between 13 and 17, have been leaked to 4chan
Pictures of up to 200,000 teenagers have been stolen from the Snapchat messaging service and posted to controversial online picture-sharing service 4chan.
Nicknamed 'The Snappening', the massive data breach is thought to have affected hundreds of thousands of users, many of them under the age of 18. It came about when hackers managed to access a service called SnapSaved.com, which has been collecting photos and videos for years, Business Insider reports.
The website, which has now closed down, was independent from Snapchat but allowed people to store photos and videos which had been sent to them. Images sent via Snapchat are normally deleted seconds after they are received.
The breach has given hackers access to a 13GB library of Snapchat photos and videos which users presumed had been deleted. 4chan users said that while not all of the pictures were explicit, a large number of them did feature nudity.
It is thought that those behind the hack may be linked to the recent leak of nude photos taken by celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, The Guardian says. Preliminary discussions about both leaks began on 4chan's discussion forums.
Unlike the celebrity nude photograph leak, in which the vast majority of images were of female stars, the leaked Snapchat images appear to be evenly mixed, The Independent reports.
4chan users say that the photos also appeat to include a large amount of child pornography. Approximately half of Snapchat's users are aged between 13 and 17, the media and marketing agency Digiday says.
As the news of the leak emerged, Snapchat said that it was not responsible for the data breach. "We can confirm that Snapchat's servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks," it said in a statement.