A 13GB database of Snapchat photos that users thought had been deleted has been released by hackers who have been collecting the files for years, Business Insider reported.
The hack – being called “The Snappening” – reportedly rivals that of the iCloud breach that recently targeted celebrities and includes at least 100,000 images.
The Snapchat files were posted online via viralpop.com, a fake website that installed malware on computers trying to download the images. The viralpop site has been taken off-line, but not before thousands of people already accessed the Snapchat collection, according to BI.
The past few weeks have seen hints in underground photo-trading chat rooms that something big was about to happen. It turns out the big event was that a third-party Snapchat client app has been collecting every photo and video file sent through it for years. This has given hackers access to the 13GB library of Snapchats that users believed had been deleted.
Users have told Business Insider that the collection of photos includes a large amount of child pornography. Half of Snapchat’s users are teenagers between 13 and 17 years old, according to the site.
In a statement to Business Insider, Snapchat confirmed the images in question came from third-party sites, but denied hackers had breached the site’s servers:
Snapchat has a shoddy history when it comes to securing users’ data. In 2013, Shapchat users’ phone numbers were accessed through its app, with 4.6 million usernames and numbers leaked online. This year, hackers used Snapchat to send photos of fruit smoothies to thousands of people.