The company announced Friday it had fixed the bug that caused the security breach, but not before hackers gained access to many users' email addresses and phone numbers. The virus - which at first took hold of Selena Gomez's account that led to the release of nude images of Justin Bieber - has apparently affected many other celebrities. At this point we believe this effort was targeted at high-profile users so, out of an abundance of caution, we are notifying our verified account holders of this issue.
The company also asked users to follow steps to protect their information on the platform and said that it is "working with law enforcement on that matter". The kicker? The website is publicly available, and can be accessed for $10 per search.
The report mentions that a sample of data shared by the hackers contains email addresses, phone numbers of famous politicians, sports stars and media companies.
The correspondence also reminded the high-profile users to activate their two-factor authentication and to use unique passwords to tighten the security of their #Instagram accounts.
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The only thing that Mike Krieger, Instagram's co-founder and Chief Technical Officer could say regarding this major security breach is that he is very sorry about what happened. Reportedly, a searchable database exists on the dark web where people can look up Instagram usernames and buy the phone number and email address associated with the account for $10 each. No passwords or other Instagram activity was revealed.
However, Doxagram, the site selling the information via the hackers, appears to be down. It warned verified users to be on the lookout for unexpected texts, calls, or emails. "Additionally, we're encouraging you to report any unusual activity through our reporting tools", wrote Krieger.
"Protecting the community has been important at Instagram from day one, and we're constantly working to make Instagram a safer place". It's highly probable that after this per-request-sale, hackers will try to sell the entire data dump altogether. Kaspersky said hackers looking to exploit the flaw would have had to do it manually, as Instagram's protection prevented automated scraping.