August 31, 2017 by

Instagram Security Breach Leaks Data of ‘High-Profile’ Users

Instagram has begun alerting users of a security breach that exposed the contact information and data of “high-profile” users on the photo-sharing platform.

Facebook-owned Instagram has admitted to a data breach where the email addresses and phone numbers of “high-profile” accounts were exposed to an unidentified attacker. The company insists that no passwords were exposed. Shedding further details, the social photo-sharing network blames the hack on an attacker who exploited a bug in an Instagram application programming interface (API).

In a statement to Variety, an Instagram representative stated:

We recently discovered that one or more individuals obtained unlawful access to a number of high-profile Instagram users’ contact information – specifically email addresses and phone number – by exploiting a bug in an Instagram API.

It appears that the API glitch enabled the attacker to gather code containing email addresses and phone numbers of specific user accounts. As things stand, Instagram has not disclosed which accounts may be compromised but has insisted that it has already notified verified account holds of the issue.

Instagram revealed details of the breach within days after the hack of the account of celebrity Selena Gomez, the most followed Instagram account with some 125 million followers. Instagram has since helped Gomez re-secure and restore her account.

Instagram added:

Our main concern is for the safety and security of our community. As always, we encourage people to be vigilant about the security of their account and exercise caution if they encounter any suspicious activity such as unrecognized incoming calls, texts and emails.

As reported earlier, Instagram enabled two-factor authentication (2FA) for all of its users after experimenting with the added layer of security for over a year. However, Instagram doesn’t support third-party authenticator apps like Authy or Google Authenticator. Instagram is among the most popular social photo sharing platforms in the world, with some 600 million accounts.

Image credit: Pexels.

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LIFARS is the global leader in Digital Forensics and Cyber Resiliency Services. Our experience spans two decades working on high profile events, often in concert with Law Enforcement Agencies around the world. Our proprietary methodology derives directly and indirectly from our experience working with and for U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Interpol, Europol, and NATO. We are solely dedicated to Cyber Resiliency and thus pay close attention to all aspects of our clients’ engagements experience while providing a strategic and integrated array of services to minimum risk and disruption while protecting your brand.

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