Instagram discovers bug that might reveal emails, phone numbers of users

Terry Joseph
September 4, 2017

Instagram, the social media platform purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, announced Wednesday that high profile accounts were hacked, leaving email addresses and phone numbers vulnerable to stealing.

Instagram is used by many high profile celebrities including the likes of Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. To make matters worse, unverified users also appear to have been hacked. However, on Friday, it confirmed that non-verified accounts had also been affected.

Nonetheless, Instagram urged users to monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity, as the company is unable to determine the specific accounts that may have been compromised. According to the Independent, a suspected cyber criminal claims to have accessed six million Instagram accounts and says that, "Facebook/Instagram has not yet fully understood the full scope of the exploit".

But a recent vulnerability in the company's software allowed hackers to access the personal data contained in thousands - or perhaps millions - of people's accounts.

The hackers have also scraped off the information of unverified users and are now reportedly selling this trove of data for $10 an inquiry via bitcoin. If you've been hacked and someone's posted your contact details on a site that Google can not reach, you're highly unlikely to ever understand the severity of that hack. They said that by the time the bug was fixed, they'd stolen the information of at least 6 million users. No passwords or other Instagram activity was revealed.

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The telephone numbers and email addresses of "high-profile Instagram users" have been exposed, but thankfully no passwords. "Additionally, we're encouraging you to report any unusual activity through our reporting tools", wrote Krieger.

Recently, private pictures of singer Justin Bieber were leaked from the Instagram account belonging to ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez.

To verify the authenticity of the sample, The Daily Beast tried to create new accounts on Instagram with a random selection of email addresses from the list.

The only thing that Mike Krieger, Instagram's co-founder and Chief Technical Officer could say regarding this major security breach is that he is very sorry about what happened.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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