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Instagram Flaw Exposes Stars’ Phone Numbers & Email Addresses

Social networking site Instagram has revealed a flaw in its systems which exposed a number of celebrities’ phone numbers and email addresses to cyber-attackers.

As reported by the BBC, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service, used by some 700 million people around the globe, believed that “one or more” attackers had targeted high-profile celebrities in an attempt to access their contact information. Instagram stated it has already got in touch with verified members to make them aware of the incident and fixed the bug in its application programming interface.

It is also believed that no passwords had been stolen, but users are advised to be on the lookout for unusual or suspicious activity on their accounts.

“High-profile Instagram users can breathe a small sigh of relief after the Facebook-owned social network yesterday revealed that no passwords had been swiped in the recent breach of the photo-sharing site,” said Lee Munson, security researcher at Comparitech.com. “They’ll need to catch their breath quickly though as other sensitive information has fallen into the hands of those responsible for the hack.”

With telephone numbers and email addresses out in the wild, he added, superstars and Z-list celebrities alike will need to be on their guard in the coming weeks as the attackers may use those contact details for other nefarious purposes. “To be on the safe side, rich and famous Instagram users should probably change their login credentials anyway, remembering to make their passwords complex and unique to each online account they have.”

The more individuals allow access to their data through social media, like Instagram, the more avenues there are for attackers to try, added Mark James, security specialist at ESET

“It’s good to remember that social media sites view people merely as a source of income. They are only concerned with the security of your data to the extent that the law requires. This is why it is critical for users to take responsibility of their own security.”

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