In a video released late Thursday night, notorious hacker group Lirpa announced that it will be releasing every Snapchat photo and video ever sent on an undisclosed site on Monday, April 11th. The photos and videos, which should disappear within seconds after viewing, will be arranged according to username with a convenient search mechanism that will allow you to filter results by date and even see who the image/video was sent to. The hacker group was unclear as to their direct motive for releasing this private content, but they did reveal that they have been intercepting and collecting the images and videos for the past two years. With over 700 million Snapchats sent per day (Business Insider), the collection being released is estimated to contain about 511 billion personal photos and videos.
As Snapchat is amongst one of the top 13 U.S. apps downloaded and has over 100 million daily active users, this action has the potential to directly affect millions of people. This leaves millions concerned about their embarrassing or revealing photos being widely available in the public domain. “This has the potential to ruin relationships, destroy careers, and will likely result in thousands of legal battles,” says Arik Hesseldahl, Staff Editor at Forbes.com.
This is not the first time that Snapchat’s security has been breached by hackers. In 2014, more than 100,000 videos and images were leaked in an event dubbed “The Snappening”. The anonymous hackers used a third-party Snapchat-client app to collect every photo and video file sent through the message site for years, which gave them access to a 13GB private library of personal pictures and videos that were supposed to disappear after opened. More recently, in December 2015, an anonymous hacker group released the usernames and phone numbers of an estimated 4.6 million Snapchat users to the Internet.
Snapchat has not yet commented on the Lirpa’s announcement, but Co-Founder Evan Spiegel is set to discuss the news in a press conference being held today at 2 PM Pacific-Standard time. Following security breaches in the past, Snapchat has taken measures to combat spam and abuse. However, it seems as if they have not yet perfected protecting their users’ privacy. The FBI and Apple Inc. are currently investigating the situation. However, they have confirmed that the threat is credible and are working towards negotiating with the hacker group. FBI Director, James Comey explained, “Since the video was released last night, our technical analysts have been working towards suspending Lirpa’s websites and social media pages. Unfortunately, because they did not release the name of the site that they will be leaking the content on, we are limited in our preventative measures.”
Celebrities have also expressed their concerns about their leak on Twitter. Television personality and avid Snapchat-user, Kylie Jenner shared the following on her Twitter account: “@Lirpa mind your own business and stop trying to ruin everyone else’s lives.” DJ Khaled, another popular Snapchat user, also offered his opinion on Twitter when he said, “Not a major key @Lirpa.”
With the FBI, Apple, and other Internet security companies working hard to prevent this massive leak of personal information, it is important that concerned Snapchat users remain calm. “You can delete the app if you feel it necessary. However, simply deleting the app has not solved these issues in the past,” Comey stated.
For now, Internet security experts are suggesting that Snapchat users ensure that their profiles on other social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are private and protected by a separate password than their Snapchat password. They also urge you to take a good look at the calendar because it’s APRIL FOOL’S DAY and you just got fooled! So sit down and relax because all of your embarrassing Snapchat photos and videos aren’t going anywhere. Happy April Fool’s Day from the Power Digital Marketing team!
*None of the information in this article is true.