One of Snapchat's main qualities as a social network is that, for the most part, everything you share has to be created in its app.
Though you're able to share photos from your phone's camera roll to friends in one-on-one conversations, you can't do the same thing for your publicly viewed story. Everything that goes on your story has to be shot and shared in Snapchat.
It's a restriction the app has had since the beginning, but a recent crop of shady, third-party apps have surfaced that skirt around the limitation. These apps appear to be gaining in popularity, and they're putting peoples' Snapchat accounts at risk of getting hacked.
Even though they use similar language and color schemes, none of these apps are actually affiliated with Snapchat. Handing over your login information to them would be like giving some random app your email or Facebook password. It's not a good idea and your information is likely to fall into the wrong hands.
There are several apps that promise to let you post from your phone's camera roll to your Snapchat story. The most popular one in the App Store right now is called "Snap Upload Pro for Snapchat."
Snap Upload Pro is currently the 18th most downloaded app in the App Store, and it's consistently stayed near the top of the charts since it spiked in popularity last month according to app research firm App Annie.
If you look through the app's thousands of five-star reviews — more App Store reviews than Snapchat itself! — the developer of Snap Upload, Wang Kai, appears to be promising "digital coins" to users in exchange for positive reviews. These coins are used to unlock the ability to post photos and videos to Snapchat from your camera roll — the very thing the app advertises itself as being able to do. Naturally, users can also buy digital coins through in-app purchase packs (starting at $0.99).
As you might already suspect, one reason for Snap Upload's rise to popularity and staying power in the App Store is directly related to the five-star reviews its juicing out of users. The freemium, review-gaming model has certainly helped Snap Upload rise in the App Store's charts, but that doesn't mean users are happy with the app itself.
Snapchat itself strongly discourages giving third-party apps like these your login information.
"As always, third-party applications and plugins are not supported by Snapchat and can compromise the security of your account," a Snapchat spokesperson told Tech Insider. "We’re always improving Snapchat's security, and you can do your part by avoiding the use of third-party apps."
Snapchat's website also notes that "the use of third-party applications or plugins can lead to your account being permanently locked."
If you've used one of these workaround apps, you should delete it from your phone and reset your Snapchat account's password. You can also enable two-factor authentication as an added security measure to keep your account safe from hackers.