New Instagram Attack After JB’s Nude Photos Deleted

Android Malware

Close on the heels of the Instagram hack in which Justin Beiber’s nude photos were posted on Selena Gomez’s Instagram (the photos were deleted soon after), here comes the news of another Instagram attack that has reportedly exposed high-profile user information…

A vulnerability that reportedly existed on the Instagram API (Application Programming Interface) has enabled this cyber attack in which the perpetrator got unauthorized access to user information. A report on eWEEK quotes an Instagram spokesman’s email that says, “We recently discovered that one or more individuals obtained unlawful access to a number of high-profile Instagram users’ contact information—specifically email address and phone number—by exploiting a bug in an Instagram API”.

A BBC report on the Instagram attack says- “Instagram has revealed a flaw in its systems revealed ‘a number of’ stars’ phone numbers and email addresses to cyber-attackers.” The BBC report further says “The Facebook-owned social network has emailed verified members, usually prominent figures, to let them know.” It said it believed “one or more” attackers had targeted high-profile stars to get their contact information. Instagram said passwords had not been stolen but warned users to watch for suspicious activity on their accounts. However, it did not say which accounts had been affected.

Instagram has reportedly fixed the software vulnerability that caused the attack and asked users to be extra-vigilant about the security of their account. Users have been advised to exercise caution if any suspicious activity happens or if they happen to get unrecognized incoming calls, texts or emails.

The Verge, reporting the incident, says “In at least one case, a user was able to exploit the bug on “some accounts,” though Instagram would not say cite specific accounts or say how many had been affected. But access to a phone number and email address could be used in tandem with social engineering techniques to potentially gain access to a user’s Instagram account.” The report also says that this probably explains how the Instagram account of Selena Gomez (who has 125 million followers) was hacked and photos of Justin Beiber were posted on it.

Instagram, which was launched in October 2010, has about 700 million users worldwide as of April 2017.

Julia Sowells886 Posts

Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.

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