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Posted: October 11, 2014

Snapchat leak affects tens of thousands of people, including minors

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By Jasmine Bailey, Evan Thomas

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Friday Snapchat reported some 13GB of images sent through the app from at least 10,000 accounts have been leaked. Dubbed "The Snappening," the leak is reportedly much bigger than the recent iCloud hack that targeted celebrities. (Video via Snapchat)

A report in Business Insider pins the leak on a third-party app that’s supposedly been collecting snaps for years. There are also reports claiming files on that third-party app are actually saved by Snapchat users without the sender's knowledge — leaving them susceptible to situations like this.

Although there are rumors the leak could be fake, through a series of tweets Snapchat confirmed there was a leak but not through any fault of its own. The company said the leak wasn’t a fault with its own servers, but due to lax security in that third-party app — the use of which is prohibited by Snapchat’s terms of use.

In other words, "not our fault" — a sentiment VentureBeat says “the victims of this hack aren’t likely to appreciate.”

And for the moment, that appears to be the extent of Snapchat’s involvement.

According to TechCrunch, “Snapchat makes no mention of how or if they will be getting involved in trying to get the pictures taken down, although it is putting a lot of effort into getting apps like these out of the picture."

The photos have reportedly been uploaded to online forum 4Chan, so if you're afraid your pictures might have been leaked, you'll be able to do a search on the site to find out.

An analyst for UK4 explained why the leaked pictures from the app notorious for "sexting" is such a big deal.

"Estimates are 700 million photos and videos are sent using the app every day. Half of those users, as you mentioned, are aged between 13 and 17. ... This is private pictures that teenagers think they are sharing among themselves."

So that means photos many of which are reportedly nude — are of minors.

Gizmodo points out this is just the latest in a string of security issues for Snapchat — but this one might be very damaging, given the underage user base.

The Federal Trade Commission has put Snapchat on notice before for “deceptive conduct" after the company guaranteed messages wouldn't be obtainable after they vanished, which turned out to not be the case.

Snapchat settled in May and from then on was prohibited from “misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy, security, or confidentiality of users’ information.” In addition, the FTC required Snapchat to implement a new, comprehensive privacy program that would be independently monitored for the next 20 years.

It's not yet clear how this recent leak will be handled by Snapchat or the FTC.

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