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Instagram User Information May Have Been Available To Hackers

By June 13, 2019May 17th, 2022Cybersecurity

Do you have an Instagram account?

If so, be advised that David Stier (a business consultant and researcher for CNET) has recently discovered a flaw in Instagram’s website that exposed thousands of users’ email addresses and phone numbers for a period of more than a month.

Mr. Stier provided screen shots and other details to Instagram demonstrating that when the source code for some users’ profiles were displayed in a web browser, supposedly confidential information was plainly visible.

The exposed information ran the gamut and included the contact and personal information of individual adult users, some businesses, and an unknown number of minors.  The company responded promptly and issued a patch that corrected the problem not long after they were made aware, but at this point, the damage may have already been done.

From a user’s perspective, the best thing you can do is to change your Instagram password immediately and be on the alert that if a hacker made a copy of the information, you may be on the receiving end of phishing emails in a bid to collect even more information from you in the months ahead.

At this point, it is unknown whether any group or individual other than Mr. Stier found and made use of the exposed information. Instagram faced a similar issue several months ago, in which the company improperly protected a database containing the contact information of millions of their users, including several influencers and celebrities.  This database was initially uploaded and shared by a Mumbai-based marketing firm called Chtrbox, and the information it contained is unquestionably in the wild at this point.

Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, issued a brief statement to the effect that they were working with Chtrbox to understand exactly how they came to posses the data and how it became publicly available.  At this time, however, no additional information is available.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.