Jennifer Lawrence
'The Snappening' could see thousands of Snapchat users have their private photo messages leaked online.Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Hackers have warned that thousands of nude images sent via the mobile-messaging service Snapchat, many of which users believed self-destructed after being sent, are to be released online in a searchable database.

Messaging boards on the notorious website 4chan have been filling up with news of the imminent leak, already being referred to as "The Snappening".

It comes just weeks after hundreds of celebrity nudes were leaked online through the same site, following a hack of Apple's iCloud that has come to be referred to as the Fappening.

Earlier this week an anonymous 4chan user claimed to have hacked into Snapsave, an image-saving service that allows users of Snapchat to store pictures received before they self-destruct.

By way of proof, the poster provided pictures allegedly from Snapsave.

Snapchat snappening leak
A blurred screenshot of images alleged to be from the Snapsave service, posted to 4chan.4chan

Given the nature of the Snapchat service, many of the images are expected to be of an explicit nature, while the young demographic of Snapchat's users could mean that some of the images released constitute child pornography.

The 4chan thread, initially spotted by blogger and social media strategist Kenny Withers, warns that there are around 200,000 images set to be released.

One poster has claimed that the full leak will take place on 12 October, however other users of the site have doubted the veracity of the hacking claims, pointing to the fact that one of the images allegedly from Snapsave can also be found from a different source.

The hacker claims that the pictures will be uploaded to a searchable database, meaning that images can be traced back to the victims' Snapchat user IDs.

Snapchat is yet to respond to a requst for comment on the matter.