App Behind The Snapchat Leak Admits It Was Hacked, Apologizes

10/13/2014 01:32 pm ET
LIONEL BONAVENTURE via Getty Images

A website that allowed Snapchat users to save images that were supposed to disappear said it was hacked and apologized for allowing thousands of private photos to be leaked online.

In a Facebook post this weekend, Snapsaved.com said its servers were breached due a “misconfiguration." The site allows Snapchat users to save images without the sender knowing. It is not affiliated with Snapchat, the app that lets people send images that disappear after a short time.

“Snapchat has not been hacked, and these images do not originate from their database,” Snapsaved's Facebook post said.

Last week, people used the online message board 4chan to circulate an estimated 200,000 private photos sent using Snapchat.

A Snapchat spokeswoman last week denied the company had been hacked and said its users were victimized by third-party apps that Snapchat prohibits because they pose a security risk.

Because Snapchat images are supposed to disappear, many people use the photo-sharing app to send racy photos. About half of Snapchat’s users are between 13 and 17 years old, raising questions of whether some of the leaked images could be considered child pornography.

In its Facebook post, Snapsaved said it “has always tried to fight child pornography” and said it has “even gone as far as to reporting some of our users to the Swedish and Norwegian authorities.”

“We tried to cleanse the database of inappropriate images as often as possible,” the post said.

It's not clear who is behind Snapsaved. The website was down on Monday, and its Facebook post said it "immediately deleted the entire website and the database" after discovering the breach in its systems.

The leak of thousands of Snapchat images was just the latest security breach to result in private photos being shared online. Last month, hackers broke into the iCloud accounts of numerous celebrities and circulated their nude photos across the Internet.

Snapchat has been repeatedly criticized for privacy and security problems. In May, Snapchat settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission that it had deceived users about the vanishing nature of messages sent through the service, about how much data it collected and about its security measures. In January, anonymous hackers published the phone numbers and usernames of 4.6 million Snapchat users.

Snapsaved said that Snapchat doesn't deserve criticism this time.

“I sincerely apologize on the behalf of snapsaved.com we never wished for this to happen,” the Facebook post said. “We did not wish to cause Snapchat or their users any harm, we only wished to provide a unique service.”

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