According to the company, a bug in Instagram enabled hackers to gain access to email addresses and phone numbers for high-profile users.
The bug was recently discovered in the API (Application Programming Interface) of Instagram. No other personal data, such as password, appears to have been uncovered.
Apparently, the bug did not apply specifically to high-profile people. However, they are certainly the ones worth aiming. Of course, who wants the phone number and email of some random stranger? So, we are possibly talking about a few hundred, depending on how quickly Instagram fixed the bug.
Instagram refused to tell which people had been aimed. However, the news came and Selena Gomez’s account was the one that was hacked. It posted nude photos of Justin Bieber, her ex-boyfriend.
As stated by the company, they have discovered recently that one or more people gained illegal access to a lot of contact information from Instagram users – specifically phone number and email address – by abusing a bug in the API. They swiftly fixed the issue and are now operating a full investigation.
The company has informed all of the verified users of the potential leak of their contact data. The company is also encouraging its users to be alert if they receive unknown emails, text messages, or phone calls.
A user was able to abuse the bug on several accounts in at least one case. However, Instagram will not name specific accounts or say how many accounts were affected. However, access to an email address and phone number can be utilized together with social engineering methods to possibly get access to the Instagram account of a certain user.
That possibly details what happened to Selena Gomez. She currently has 126 million followers on Instagram. Her account was hacked after the hackers obtained access to it and posted nude images of Justin Bieber. Well, the fact is that the photos were already made public in 2015.
But, why did the hackers posted it? Maybe they are doing it just to sway our attention away from something they are planning to do. Luckily, the account of Gomez was immediately restored later that day.
Instagram is now recommending users to set up 2-factor authentication. However, a lot of people say that you may want to add several other layers too.