Technology

Instagram says hackers swiped contact info for verified users

Instagram says hackers swiped contact info for verified users

Instagram's security hole may be linked to an incident on August 28th, when someone accessed the account of Selena Gomez - the most-followed user on the site - and posted nude photographs of Justin Bieber. According to the Verge, the social giant has now confirmed the bug allowed hackers to compile email addresses and phone numbers from "millions of accounts". (It has since been fixed.) While the company first said the hack was limited to holders of verified accounts, it said today that non-verified users had been affected as well.

Apparently one individual who found the bug, has used it to access information for some accounts.

However, the bug exposes certain vulnerabilities within Instagram's system and the popular platform will likely need to take further measures to button up on security for celebrities and everyone else with an account.

A manager of the database told CNN Tech that "we have a variety of high profile accounts, normal accounts, and very high profile celebrities".

"Although we can not determine which specific accounts may have been impacted, we believe it was a low percentage of Instagram accounts", a spokesperson told Mashable. Others also may have already bought from them and now that information is floating out there on the web.

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".

On Friday, Instagram CTO Mike Krieger published a blog post alerting all users to the security flaw.

"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", the spokesperson said. "Additionally, we're encouraging you to report any unusual activity through our reporting tools", wrote Krieger.

We've asked Instagram for more details and will let you know if it can shed more light on the situation, such as when the breach happened and how many people were targeted. In combination with social engineering techniques like spearphishing, the data exposed could be used to gain access user account access. Gomez is one of the high-profile or "verified" users of the photo-sharing app.


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