Beware of a strange hack that logs users out of their Instagram account, replaces all the contact details, and links it to a new e-mail address with a Russian domain.
If you haven’t updated your Instagram password or haven’t reviewed your security settings in a while, now would be a good time to do so. A puzzling hack has locked some Instagram users out of their accounts and got all contact details replaced, with the email address linked to a new one under a Russian domain.
Mashable’s report about the latest hacking activities outlined the modus operandi of the yet to be identified hackers. After logging users out of their accounts, they would change the Instagram handle, profile photo, e-mail address, and phone numbers associated with the account. If users tried to request a password reset, they’ll be informed that a new e-mail address with a Russian .ru domain is now linked to their accounts.
According to the report, hundreds of Instagram users have already reported similar attacks since the beginning of the month. Google Trends also shows some jumps of worldwide searches for “Instagram hacked” on August 8 and 11. There’s also a Reddit thread discussing hacks done in the same manner. While Instagram says it hasn’t seen a surge in hacks, many of their users have taken to Twitter to both spread the word about the hack and ask for Instagram’s help. Desperate tweets are still coming in as of this article’s writing.
It hasn’t been determined yet how the possible Russian hackers are doing it, or whether it’s part of a coordinated attack. The Mashable report has also found that in most of the cases, the victims didn’t have the two-factor authentication enabled when the hack occurred. Still, turns out the added security measure was no assurance against the attack, as there are also reports of it happening despite two-factor authentication being turned on.
Even if the culprits aren’t deleting old posts or creating new ones on the stolen accounts, (yet) the difficulty of retrieving them is enough cause for concern. If you’re relying on your Instagram account for marketing your work, brand, or business, falling victim to this hack will be one big headache, and may potentially affect your social media marketing strategies.
In the meantime, make sure to update your passwords now, enable the two-factor authentication if you haven’t yet, and be vigilant for any developments. And if you’re still relying on Instagram for showcasing your photography, do yourself a favor and start making your own portfolio website.
For now, we wait on what Instagram has to say and do on this matter.