Another large-scale data incident has been reported, this time affecting Instagram users.
More specifically, information belonging to millions Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts has been exposed online. The database was hosted by Amazon Web Services, TechCrunch reported, and it had more than 49 million records at the time of the original report.
Information of Instagram Influencers Exposed
A brief review of the data reveals that each record consisted of public data scraped from Instagram influencers’ accounts, such as the Instagram account owner’s email address and phone number.
The database was discovered by security researcher Anurag Sen. The researcher contacted TechCrunch “in an effort to find the owner and get the database secured”. TechCrunch “traced the database back to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox, which pays influencers to post sponsored content on their accounts”.
Each record in the database contained a record that calculated the worth of each account, based off the number of followers, engagement, reach, likes and shares they had. This was used as a metric to determine how much the company could pay an Instagram celebrity or influencer to post an ad, TechCrunch discovered.
The information of several high-profile influencers (food bloggers, celebrities, and social media personas) was exposed in the database.
The technology website even contacted several people on a random basis whose information was found in the database and gave them their phone numbers. Two of the people confirmed that these were indeed their emails addresses and phone numbers. Furthermore, this information was used to set up their Instagram accounts. The Instagram influencers also said they had nothing do with Chtrbox.
TechCrunch then contacted the Indian company who quickly pulled the database offline. Pranay Swarup, the company’s founder and chief executive, did not respond to a request for comment and said nothing regarding how the company obtained private Instagram account email addresses and phone numbers, the media reported.