It is estimated that more than 200,000 photos taken on Snapchat, a popular app used by high school and college students, have been hacked and leaked onto the Internet.
With a photo dump that big, which people have labeled “The Snappening,” there is not much known about who the photos belong to.
Unlike the ongoing hacks that have targeted celebrities since last month, this leak is a little more frightening considering the likelihood that a portion of those Snapchat photos belong to minors. Multiple reports have discovered that 50 percent of Snapchat users are between ages 13-17.
Snapchat users may feel secure sending nude pictures through the app, since the pictures only last for a very limited time once sent and cannot be retrieved again, but it was only a matter of time before people would find a way around it.
Users began to install a third-party application named SnapSave that allowed users to save all “snaps” which would later be saved onto that database.
Hackers did not have to breach Snapchat’s databases to steal the pictures. They hacked SnapSave instead, which was far less difficult.
This is no longer an issue for just Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton. It’s an issue for everyone.
While you are free to take pictures and express yourself that way to the ones you love, understand that there’s always a risk, regardless of who you are.
In a perfect world, this would be nothing to worry about, but this type of crime is hard to track down and no hackers have been caught yet. Yes, these cybercrimes are deserving of condemnation, but the only one who can prevent sensitive photos from reaching the Internet is you.
Be smart about who you send this type of information to and what medium is used to send it. It’s worth a second a thought before you go through with something that might change your life forever.