SnapChat Hack

Icon_100pxIf you’ve got young people in your church, then there is a strong chance that at least some of them will be using SnapChat. The idea of the Social Media Network is that young people can take photos, annotate them and then send them to friends. The picture will appear on the friend’s screen for a few seconds and then be deleted. No picture is saved on SnapChat’s servers and technically speaking all traces of the interaction are destroyed.

However, as with so much tech, where there’s a way for something to be subverted it will be, and so third party developers have found ways around the SnapChat safeguards, and have allowed people receiving pictures to store them, and as you will have seen in the news, these stores were recently hacked, with thousands of pictures, many of them of young people have been leaked to the internet.

The vast majority of these pictures were entirely innocent, and as they weren’t linked with usernames, there is no easy way to trace a photo back to a particular individual. Some of the pictures were however sexual in nature, and any young people who may have used SnapChat to send graphic photos of themselves will now be worried that their pictures are in the public domain.

Below is the official press release from CEOP from their ThinkUKNow website.

If you work with young people, now might be the time to offer support and care for anyone who is concerned about the SnapChat hack.

“There has been a lot of press coverage reporting the upload of a large number of stolen Snapchat photos to the internet.

These images have apparently been taken from a third party site ‘Snapsaved’ which appears to have been hacked. ‘Snapsaved’ enables users to save Snapchat pictures rather than see them disappear but in doing so saves the images on its own servers. Press reports state that it is images from this database which have been uploaded and made available via the 4Chan discussion boards. This story from The Independent provides background.

From the press reports it would appear that:

It is unlikely the images are linked to usernames so it would be hard to locate a photo of an individual
There is no additional personal information associated with images
Most of the images are not sexual
Despite this, young people you work with may be concerned that images of them have been uploaded. It’s really important that they are provided with support and know what to do if they lose control of a sexual image. It’s never too late to get help.

Young people can:

Talk to a counsellor at ChildLine on 0800 1111 or at http://www.childline.org.uk. ChildLine will also work with the Internet Watch Foundation to notify sites hosting images to have them removed.
If young people are being harassed, threatened or blackmailed because of a sexual image they can report to us at CEOP via the CEOP report form at http://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre.
If images end up on a site they can often report to the sites where they have been shared. Find out how to report to some popular sites here.
An education response

If you’d like to explore this issue with young people you work with, use the ‘News’ section of Thinkuknow – we’ve posted an article about it here.

Young people should be made aware of the potential consequences of sharing sexual images. They can visit Thinkuknow for 11-13s or Thinkuknow for 14+ for advice and films on the topic.

If you’re concerned about young people being blackmailed over images they have shared you can also access the ‘Webcam with Confidence’ fact sheet and assembly which tackles this issue from the Thinkuknow for Teachers Resources Area.”

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