​Instagram Fruit Spam Infects Online Photo-Sharing

Staff Reporter
Aug. 5, 2014

Thousands of Instagram users were hacked by a company that advertised a fruit diet. The spam placed photos about the benefits of fruit, both personal Instagram and public images, and about 30,000 users were plagued with the problem until administrators figured it out.

30,000 Users Infected By Instagram Fruit Spam

The URLs to the photos were changed in the users’ bios, replaced with pictures of the advertisement.

The problem was first reported by Om Malik on GigaOm who said that the spammers were posting the fruit photos to the user’s profile and changeing the URL in the person’s bio.

At the time, 30,000 people had clicked on the link which sent them to a fake BBC page. Facebook, which owns Instagram, did release a statement, but didn’t get into details on how the spammers broke through.

“Earlier today, a small portion of our users experienced a spam incident where unwanted photos were posted from their accounts.”

The problem was solved relatively fast with targeted users being sent a password reset.

Malik hypothesized that this was the first large-scale spam attacks on the app.

“I wouldn’t characterize it as a ‘small portion’ of users,’ Malik wrote in the post. “The Facebook/Instagram team still hasn’t offered an explanation as to what went wrong.”

To avoid the problem in the future, a Facebook spokesman said to keep all of your online passwords unique which keep the problem from spreading.

“Spammers are posting the photos to a user’s profile, as well as changing the URL in that person’s bio.”

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