SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Snapsaved.com, a website which allows users to save images sent via Snapchat, claimed on Monday that hackers had breached its servers and made off with some 500 megabytes of photographs.
The claim by the little-known website sheds some light on reports in past days that hackers were preparing to unleash some 13 gigabytes of photographs sent via SnapChat, a mobile app popular among teenagers that promises users that any pictures relayed to other users will be deleted in a matter of seconds.
However, users can employ special websites and third-party apps like Snapsaved.com to save images they receive on their smartphones, with or without the sender's and SnapChat's knowledge. SnapChat last week blamed third-party apps, which can be downloaded separately and used in conjunction with its service, for any photos that may have been stolen or leaked.
The prospect that a torrent of photos will be made publicly available via an indexed, online database has raised concerns about potentially racy images of minors.
On Monday, Snapsaved.com said on its Facebook page that it deleted its entire website and database as soon as it discovered the intrusion. It was unclear who wrote the post on Snapsaved.com's Facebook page, which has been active since 2013. The website itself remains down.
While apparently owning up to a cybersecurity breach, the website said that hackers' threats, posted anonymously on online forums, to release a barrage of images in what media reports have dubbed a "snappening" had in fact been overstated.
"SnapChat has not been hacked, and these images do not originate from their database," the Facebook post read.
"The recent rumors about the snappening are a hoax. The hacker does not have sufficient information to live up to his claims of creating a searchable database."
It was unclear why Snapsaved.com thought threat was a hoax nor how it had knew whether SnapChat had been hacked.
Leaked photos could become problematic for Snapchat, which is one of a crop of fast-growing apps that compete with Facebook and Twitter but have faced criticism over privacy practices in the past. Snapchat is now raising money in a funding round that would give it a $10 billion valuation, according to reports.
(Reporting by San Francisco newsroom; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)