Very little disappears from the Internet. Hence the appeal of a service like Snapchat, which ostensibly allows users to take photos that will only be viewable by a select group of recipients for a limited amount of time. Once that time runs out, the image disappears into the ether. Or at least that's the idea.
Turns out the reality, as of last week, is substantially uglier. Thanks to a recent security breach, hundreds of thousands of old Snapchat pictures have been posted online. The leaked data reportedly includes some photos of underage nudity.
Snapchat's security does not appear to have been compromised. Instead, hackers gained access to the photos by raiding the servers of a third-party application called Snapsaved, which allows Snapchat users to take advantage of the service on their desktop computers -- and to save the photos they receive, without the knowledge and consent of the people sending them.
Snapsaved.com is down, but the company confirmed that its security had been breached in a Saturday Facebook post. The company also said that 500 megabytes of images and "0 personal information" had been affected by the breach.
"The Snappening," as the breach is now being called, appears to be a sort of sequel to the so-called "Fappening," the massive iCloud security breach first made public on August 31. As a result of that breach, nearly 200 celebrity nude photos were posted on the website 4chan without the consent of those who appear in the pictures. The actress Jennifer Lawrence, one of those victimized by the breach, later referred to the release of those photos as a "sex crime." Some of the leaked Snapchat photos were also posted on 4chan.