Thousands of influencer account details leaked by social media booting service

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 31, 2020

If you’ve ever tried to boost your Instagram followers through a third party website, you should be changing your Instagram passwords by now.

In a major data breach, thousands of Instagram usernames and passwords have been leaked by social media booting service called Social Captain. The company helps people boost their followers and like counts.

Tech Crunch was the first to report the breach after a researcher, who didn’t want to be named, alerted TechCrunch and provided a spreadsheet of nearly 10,000 scraped user accounts.

Faking the ‘like’s

Social Media Influencers actively use services like Social Captain to improve their earning potential by using fake followers and likes. There are currently hundreds of such websites that offer to boost your follower count usually with the help of bots.

Instagram has been actively fighting the fake follower and fake likes phenomenon by blocking thousands of profiles. Thousands of Influencers, however, continue to subscribe to such services to appear popular and attract more brands to their profile.

Social Captain is said to have stored passwords of linked Instagram accounts in unencrypted plaintext. A website vulnerability allowed anyone access to any Social Captain user’s profile without having to log in and access their Instagram login credentials.

Commenting about this leak, Instagram said that Social Captain has breached its terms of service by improperly storing login credentials.

This, however, is not the first such leak being faced by Instagram. In last May, a database containing contact information of 49 million Instagram influencers, brands and celebrities was exposed online that contained not only details such as the phone number and their email IDs, but also other details such as their profile pictures, bio, their total number of followers and even the location data (city and country).

The leak in May also happened via a third party app developed by a Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox that pays Instagram influencers to run ad campaigns on their accounts.

Published on January 31, 2020

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