Snapchat’s photo hack was a really big deal to billionaire investor Peter Thiel.
“It’s especially problematic for a company like Snapchat, where the brand is privacy,” Thiel said during a televised interview Sunday on Fox. “People are worried about privacy, and its one of the reasons people are using a service like SnapChat. So, when something like this happens, it is especially bad.”
About 200,000 Snapchat customers had private photos and videos they had stored on a third-party website boosted in an attack from cyber-thieves last week. Some suspect that the hit may have some relation to Apple’s iCloud photo hack scandal, where nude photos of celebrities were leaked after their accounts had been breached.
The cyberthieves lured Snapchat users to a site called Snapsaved.com, which offered them the capability to use the Snapchat service on the desktop as opposed to the app. Usually, the service deletes photos after a short period. Snapchat servers were never breached and the company blamed a third-party for the fiasco last week.
A blog post from Snapsaved on Facebook today admitted the site breach.
“I would like to inform the public that snapsaved.com was hacked. … We had a misconfiguration in our Apache server. SnapChat has not been hacked, and these images do not originate from their database. The majority of our users are Swedish, Norwegian and American. I sincerely apologize on the behalf of snapsaved.com we never wished for this to happen. We did not wish to cause SnapChat or their users any harm, we only wished to provide a unique service.”
Still, this is small consolation to the 200,000 users who had their photos and videos lifted from a mysterious hacker who has yet to be identified. And it comes on the heels of a major round of serious breaches of American banks and big retailers by hackers thought by some security researchers to be operating in Eastern Europe.
“There’s always a sense that people will do things quite differently if they think they have privacy. That’s why this is problematic, and pretty big deal,” Thiel said, referring to SnapChat.
Thiel used the interview to slam companies for not doing more to protect their firewalls — and their customers.
“Every time you write an email, it is in the public domain. There are all these ways where security is not as good as people believe,” Thiel said.