Instagram users have something to worry about after hackers breached the database of the social network and photo sharing websites. The hackers were able to gain access to the phone numbers and email addresses of six million Instagram account using a bug that Instagram CTO Mike Krieger has now confirmed exists.
Krieger wrote, "We care deeply about the safety and security of the Instagram community, so we want to let you know that we recently discovered a bug on Instagram that could be used to access some people’s email address and phone number even if they were not public. No passwords or other Instagram activity was revealed."
While Krieger says that no passwords or activity was lost in the leak, reports indicate that the hackers were able to use the bug to take control of Selena Gomez's account and post nude photos of her and ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber to the 125 million followers of Gomez on Instagram. Krieger says that the bug was "quickly fixed" and that it has been working with law enforcement on the matter. The hackers who claim to have the credentials of the 6 million accounts have shared a list online of the accounts they have credentials for.
That list reportedly includes 1,000 names out of the 6 million including information on several celebrities, sports stars, and media personalities. The hackers have offered the content of the database they hacked to anyone who wants to pay $10 per inquiry in bitcoin. Krieger says that the number of accounts impacted was "a low percentage of instagram accounts."
Krieger is warning all Instagram users to be "vigilant" about account security. He wrote, "Out of an abundance of caution, we encourage you to be vigilant about the security of your account, and exercise caution if you observe any suspicious activity such as unrecognized incoming calls, texts, or emails. Additionally, we’re encouraging you to report any unusual activity through our reporting tools. You can access those tools by tapping the "..." menu from your profile, selecting "Report a Problem" and then "Spam or Abuse.""
Instagram currently has over 700 million accounts and while the 6 million allegedly stolen is a small percentage of that amount, it is still a huge number. Krieger wrote, "Protecting the community has been important at Instagram from day one, and we’re constantly working to make Instagram a safer place. We are very sorry this happened."
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