Sci-tech

Private details of millions of Instagram influencers exposed

Private details of millions of Instagram influencers exposed”

Accounts that were left exposed in the database included high-profile influencers, food bloggers and even well-known celebrities. After a bit of digging, the media outlet then traced it back to Chtrbox, a marketing company in Mumbai.

Instagram that is owned by Facebook claims that no data is shared with any third-parties and is kept confidential.

"If private details, besides pictures, have been found online, it does constitute a serious data breach".

They contact several people from the database at random and two influencers confirmed the email address and phone number found in the database, were the ones used to set up their Instagram accounts, but denied any involvement with Chtrbox.

The database, which had nearly 50 million records, had no password protection so anyone could go online and browse its contents before it was removed yesterday.

Each record in the database contained a record calculating the worth of every account, based on engagement, reach, likes, shares and followers they had.

According to U.S. site TechCrunch, which first reported the incident, the database contained more than 49 million records, including private contact information such as an Instagram account owners' email addresses and phone numbers. Chtrbox works with influencers from other social media platforms that have a large follower count. According to the initial report, there were already 49 million records in the database and seemed to have been growing by the hour.

When the tech website contacted Chtrbox, the database was pulled offline, though the company did not respond to requests for a comment.

A Facebook spokesman told TechCrunch it's looking into the matter and that "Scraping data of any kind is prohibited on Instagram". Hence it is quite likely that only a few data engineers who knew where to look knew about the same. This time it's the Facebook owned photo-sharing site, Instagram.

"This database did not include any sensitive personal data and only contained information available from the public domain, or self-reported by influencers", it said in a statement late Tuesday night. The leak was first shared with TechCrunch by a cybersecurity researcher. The hackers had later sold the data for bitcoin.



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