Snapchat users worried over news about a major leak of some 200,000 images from the service might be able to breathe a sigh of relief: Only users of a specific third-party website called Snapsaved.com were affected. Snapchat called third-party services like Snapsaved “illegal” in a statement Friday, warning its users to avoid them.
Snapchat became popular for promising to delete its users’ picture and video messages. Then along came Snapsaved, which allowed them to secretly store those “snaps” -- but also made them more vulnerable. Snapsaved admitted its role in the hack that saw thousands of stolen images leaked online in a statement issued Saturday.
“SnapChat has not been hacked, and these images do not originate from their database,” Snapsaved said. Instead, the anonymous website administrators admit that the site “was hacked” due to a misconfiguration in their server.
Snapsaved said it deleted its website and database as “soon as we discovered the breach in our systems... As far as we can tell, the breach has effected [sic] 500MB of images, and personal information.”
The website’s statement directly counters an anonymous claim made on Pastebin that Snapsaved administrators provided hackers with a way to freely browse the Snapchat site’s content. Pastebin allows anyone to store text and is commonly used by hackers to boast about recent successes and make anonymous claims.
“The content released from [Snapsaved] was provided to us by the administrator of the site,” the anonymous hacker said. “Users could freely browse all media on this website… . When the site became unusable, the administrator compiled a full directory of the content and uploaded it to an un-indexed website where you could freely download it.”
Snapsaved’s administrators' claims – that only 500 megabytes of user data were stolen – appear to have been quickly disproven Sunday, after thousands of the stolen images were released online. The site is due for renewal on Friday, according to a website domain tool.
Over 10,000 Snapchat users had logged in to the Snapsaved service by November of 2013, according to the site. When news first broke that Snapchat had been hacked, signs pointed to third-party services, but it was not immediately clear whether Snapsaved or Android app Snapsave was the cause.
Snapsaved’s developer said Friday that it was not involved in the hack. Snapsaved.com is down, after redirecting to a Danish retail site for the past few days.
Snapchat itself has faced criticism for the way it stores old snaps. One researcher said in January that on Android phones, the images were merely hidden, not deleted.