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Celebrity info stolen from Instagram on sale for $10 on the dark web

Photo-sharing application Instagram, which has 700 million active users a month, recently fell victim to a data leak that exposed six million accounts on the dark web, writes The Telegraph.

At the time of the breach, Co-Founder and CTO Mike Krieger said “No passwords or other Instagram activity was revealed” and “although we cannot determine which specific accounts may have been impacted, we believe it was a low percentage of Instagram accounts.”

At first, it seemed the hackers only wanted access to phone numbers and emails of famous people such as Selena Gomez, but a searchable database called Doxagram was discovered on the dark web Thursday night. The hackers had put up for sale the victims’ data at $10 per search, found an Ars Technica investigation.  A sample of 10,000 records of celebrities, such as politicians and sports stars, was provided as proof.

“To protect potentially affected end users, Ars isn’t publishing the sites hosting the sale of the purported 6 million records or the sample, which was freely available when this post was going live,” Ars Technica writes.

Following communication between Ars Technica and the site operator on Friday, 12 deposits of about $500 had already been made.

“My conclusion: there’s nothing in here to disprove the data. It’s *possible* it has been scraped together from other sources, but every indication is that it’s legitimate and the vector you wrote about earlier is absolutely feasible and certainly not unprecedented,” said Troy Hunt.

“We recently discovered that one or more individuals obtained unlawful access to a number of high-profile Instagram users’ contact information—specifically email address and phone number—by exploiting a bug in an Instagram API. No account passwords were exposed. We fixed the bug swiftly and are running a thorough investigation,” reads a recent statement from an Instagram spokesperson.

“Our main concern is for the safety and security of our community. At this point we believe this effort was targeted at high-profile users so, out of an abundance of caution, we are notifying our verified account holders of this issue,” the statement added.

“As always, we encourage people to be vigilant about the security of their account and exercise caution if they encounter any suspicious activity such as unrecognized incoming calls, texts and emails.”

About the author


From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.