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Meta Takes Down Fake Facebook and Instagram Accounts Linked to Pro-U.S. Influence Operation

Meta Takes Down Fake Facebook and Instagram Accounts Linked to Pro-U.S. Influence Operation

Nov 23, 2022
Meta Platforms on Tuesday said it took down a network of accounts and pages across Facebook and Instagram that were operated by people associated with the U.S. military to spread narratives that depicted the country in a favorable light in the Middle East and Central Asia. The network, which originated from the U.S., primarily singled out Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. The social media giant stated the individuals behind the activity impersonated the communities they targeted, propagating content in Arabic, Farsi, and Russian that floated themes of increased military cooperation with the U.S., and criticized Iran, China, and Russia. These narratives spanned "Russia's invasion of Ukraine, China's treatment of the Uyghur people, Iran's influence in the Middle East, and the support of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan by Russia and China," Meta  said  in its Quarterly Adversaria
Facebook Detects 400 Android and iOS Apps Stealing Users Log-in Credentials

Facebook Detects 400 Android and iOS Apps Stealing Users Log-in Credentials

Oct 07, 2022
Meta Platforms on Friday disclosed that it had identified over 400 malicious apps on Android and iOS that it said targeted online users with the goal of stealing their Facebook login information. "These apps were listed on the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store and disguised as photo editors, games, VPN services, business apps, and other utilities to trick people into downloading them," the social media behemoth  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. 42.6% of the rogue apps were photo editors, followed by business utilities (15.4%), phone utilities (14.1%), games (11.7%), VPNs (11.7%), and lifestyle apps (4.4%). Interestingly, a majority of the iOS apps posed as ads manager tools for Meta and its Facebook subsidiary. Besides concealing its malicious nature as a set of seemingly harmless apps, the operators of the scheme also published fake reviews that were designed to offset the negative reviews left by users who may have previously downloaded the apps
Meta Sues Hackers Behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram Phishing Attacks

Meta Sues Hackers Behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram Phishing Attacks

Dec 21, 2021
Facebook's parent company Meta Platforms on Monday said it has filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. state of California against bad actors who operated more than 39,000 phishing websites that impersonated its digital properties to mislead unsuspecting users into divulging their login credentials. The social engineering scheme involved the creation of rogue webpages that masqueraded as the login pages of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, on which victims were prompted to enter their usernames and passwords that were then harvested by the defendants. The tech giant is also seeking $500,000 from the anonymous actors. The attacks were carried out using a relay service, Ngrok , that redirected internet traffic to the phishing websites in a manner that concealed the true location of the fraudulent infrastructure. Meta said the volume of these phishing attacks ramped up in volume since March 2021 and that it worked with the relay service to suspend thousands of URLs to the
Facebook Postpones Plans for E2E Encryption in Messenger, Instagram Until 2023

Facebook Postpones Plans for E2E Encryption in Messenger, Instagram Until 2023

Nov 22, 2021
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, disclosed that it doesn't intend to roll out default end-to-end encryption (E2EE) across all its messaging services until 2023, pushing its original plans by at least a year. "We're taking our time to get this right and we don't plan to finish the global rollout of end-to-end encryption by default across all our messaging services until sometime in 2023," Meta's head of safety, Antigone Davis,  said  in a post published in The Telegraph over the weekend. The new scheme, described as a "three-pronged approach," aims to employ a mix of non-encrypted data across its apps as well as account information and reports from users to improve safety and combat abuse, noting that the goal is to deter illegal behavior from happening in the first place, giving users more control, and actively encouraging users to flag harmful messages. Meta had previously  outlined  plans to be "fully end-to-en
Instagram‌ ‌Bug Allowed Anyone to View Private Accounts Without Following Them

Instagram‌ ‌Bug Allowed Anyone to View Private Accounts Without Following Them

Jun 15, 2021
Instagram has patched a new flaw that allowed anyone to view archived posts and stories posted by private accounts without having to follow them. "This bug could have allowed a malicious user to view targeted media on Instagram," security researcher Mayur Fartade  said  in a Medium post today. "An attacker could have been able to see details of private/archived posts, stories, reels, IGTV without following the user using Media ID." Fartade disclosed the issue to Facebook's security team on April 16, 2021, following which the shortcoming was patched on June 15. He was also awarded $30,000 as part of the company's bug bounty program. Although the attack requires knowing the media ID associated with an image, video, or album, by brute-forcing the identifiers, Fartade demonstrated that it was possible to craft a POST request to a GraphQL endpoint and retrieve sensitive data. As a consequence of the flaw, details such as like/comment/save count, display_
48 U.S. States and FTC are suing Facebook for illegal monopolization

48 U.S. States and FTC are suing Facebook for illegal monopolization

Dec 10, 2020
The US Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of 48 state attorneys general on Wednesday filed a pair of sweeping antitrust suits against Facebook, alleging that the company abused its power in the marketplace to neutralize competitors through its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp and depriving users of better privacy-friendly alternatives. "Facebook has engaged in a systematic strategy — including its 2012 acquisition of up-and-coming rival Instagram, its 2014 acquisition of the mobile messaging app WhatsApp, and the imposition of anti-competitive conditions on software developers — to eliminate threats to its monopoly," the FTC  said  in its complaint. A  separate lawsuit  filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James also claimed that in illegally acquiring competitors in a predatory manner, the social media company stripped users of the benefits of competition, limited consumer choices, and their access to rivals with better privacy practices. Specifically,
Major Instagram App Bug Could've Given Hackers Remote Access to Your Phone

Major Instagram App Bug Could've Given Hackers Remote Access to Your Phone

Sep 24, 2020
Ever wonder how hackers can hack your smartphone remotely? In a report shared with The Hacker News today, Check Point researchers disclosed details about a  critical vulnerability  in Instagram's Android app that could have allowed remote attackers to take control over a targeted device just by sending victims a specially crafted image. What's more worrisome is that the flaw not only lets attackers perform actions on behalf of the user within the Instagram app—including spying on victim's private messages and even deleting or posting photos from their accounts—but also execute arbitrary code on the device. According to an  advisory  published by Facebook, the heap overflow security issue (tracked as CVE-2020-1895 , CVSS score: 7.8) impacts all versions of the Instagram app prior to 128.0.0.26.128, which was released on February 10 earlier this year. "This [flaw] turns the device into a tool for spying on targeted users without their knowledge, as well as enabling
This Flaw Could Have Allowed Hackers to Hack Any Instagram Account Within 10 Minutes

This Flaw Could Have Allowed Hackers to Hack Any Instagram Account Within 10 Minutes

Jul 15, 2019
Watch out! Facebook-owned photo-sharing service has recently patched a critical vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to compromise any Instagram account without requiring any interaction from the targeted users. Instagram is growing quickly—and with the most popular social media network in the world after Facebook, the photo-sharing network absolutely dominates when it comes to user engagement and interactions. Despite having advanced security mechanisms in place, bigger platforms like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Instagram are not completely immune to hackers and contain severe vulnerabilities. Some vulnerabilities have recently been patched , some are still under the process of being fixed, and many others most likely do exist, but haven't been found just yet. Details of one such critical vulnerability in Instagram surfaced today on the Internet that could have allowed a remote attacker to reset the password for any Instagram account and take complete contr
Facebook Stored Millions of Instagram Users' Passwords in Plaintext

Facebook Stored Millions of Instagram Users' Passwords in Plaintext

Apr 18, 2019
Facebook late last month revealed that the social media company mistakenly stored passwords for "hundreds of millions" of Facebook users in plaintext, including "tens of thousands" passwords of its Instagram users as well. Now it appears that the incident is far worse than first reported. Facebook today quietly updated its March press release, adding that the actual number of affected Instagram users were not in hundreds of thousands but millions. These plaintext passwords for millions of Instagram users, along with millions of Facebook users, were accessible to some of the Facebook engineers, who according to the company, did not abuse it. According to the updated post, Facebook discovered "additional logs of Instagram passwords" stored in a readable format, but added that its investigation revealed that the stored passwords were never "abused or improperly accessed" by any of its employees. Here's the full updated statement p
Instagram Accidentally Exposed Some Users' Passwords In Plaintext

Instagram Accidentally Exposed Some Users' Passwords In Plaintext

Nov 19, 2018
Instagram has recently patched a security issue in its website that might have accidentally exposed some of its users' passwords in plain text. The company recently started notifying affected users of a security bug that resides in a newly offered feature called "Download Your Data" that allows users to download a copy of their data shared on the social media platform, including photos, comments, posts, and other information that they have shared on the platform. To prevent unauthorized users from getting their hands on your personal data, the feature asks you to reconfirm your password before downloading the data. However, according to Instagram, the plaintext passwords for some users who had used the Download Your Data feature were included in the URL and also stored on Facebook's servers due to a security bug that was discovered by the Instagram internal team. The company said the stored data has been deleted from the servers owned by Facebook, Instagra
Instagram Adds 3 New Security Tools to Make its Platform More Secure

Instagram Adds 3 New Security Tools to Make its Platform More Secure

Aug 29, 2018
Instagram is growing quickly—and with the second most popular social media network in the world (behind just Facebook), the photo-sharing network absolutely dominates when it comes to user interactions. And with great success comes great responsibility—responsibility to keep users' accounts safe, responsibility to fight fake accounts and news, and responsibility of being transparent. You might know that the Facebook-owned photo-sharing network has recently been a victim of a widespread hacking campaign that has affected thousands of Instagram users, leaving them locked out of their accounts. In the wake of the security mishappening, Instagram has announced a trio of security updates intended to discourage trolls, stop misinformation, and make the platform a little safer for its one billion users. In an official blog post , titled "New Tools to Keep Instagram Safe," published by Instagram Co-Founder & CTO Mike Krieger on August 28, the company announced thr
Widespread Instagram Hack Locking Users Out of Their Accounts

Widespread Instagram Hack Locking Users Out of Their Accounts

Aug 15, 2018
Instagram has been hit by a widespread hacking campaign that appears to stem from Russia and have affected hundreds of users over the past week, leaving them locked out of their accounts. A growing number of Instagram users are taking to social media, including Twitter and Reddit, to report a mysterious hack which involves locking them out of their account with their email addresses changed to .ru domains. According to victims, their account names, profile pictures, passwords, email addresses associated with their Instagram accounts, and even connected Facebook accounts are being changed in the attack. Many of the affected Instagram users are also complaining about their profile photos replaced with stills from popular films, including Despicable Me 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean. Although it is still unknown who is behind the widespread hack of Instagram accounts, the use of the email addresses originating from Russian email provider mail.ru may indicate a Russian hacker or
Instagram Hacker Puts 6 Million Celebrities Personal Data Up For Sale On DoxaGram

Instagram Hacker Puts 6 Million Celebrities Personal Data Up For Sale On DoxaGram

Sep 01, 2017
It's now official, Instagram has suffered a massive data breach , and reportedly an unknown hacker has stolen personal details of more than 6 million Instagram accounts. Just yesterday, we reported that Instagram had patched a critical API vulnerability that allowed the attacker to access phone numbers and email addresses for high-profile verified accounts. However, Instagram hack now appears to be more serious than initially reported. Not just a few thousands of high-profile users—it's more than 6 million Instagram users, including politicians, sports stars, and media companies, who have had their Instagram profile information, including email addresses and phone numbers, available for sale on a website, called Doxagram . The suspected Instagram hacker has launched Doxagram, an Instagram lookup service, where anyone can search for stolen information only for $10 per account. A security researcher from Kaspersky Labs, who also found the same vulnerability and rep
Instagram Suffers Data Breach! Hacker Stole Contact Info of High-Profile Users

Instagram Suffers Data Breach! Hacker Stole Contact Info of High-Profile Users

Aug 31, 2017
Instagram has recently suffered a possibly serious data breach with hackers gaining access to the phone numbers and email addresses for many "high-profile" users. The 700 million-user-strong, Facebook-owned photo sharing service has currently notified all of its verified users that an unknown hacker has accessed some of their profile data, including email addresses and phone numbers, using a bug in Instagram. The flaw actually resides in Instagram's application programming interface (API), which the service uses to communicate with other apps. Although the company did not reveal any details about the Instagram's API flaw, it assured its users that the bug has now been patched and its security team is further investigating the incident. "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 Instagr
Bug Hunter Found Ways to Hack Any Instagram Accounts

Bug Hunter Found Ways to Hack Any Instagram Accounts

May 21, 2016
How to hack an Instagram account? The answer to this question is difficult to find, but a bug bounty hunter just did it without too many difficulties. Belgian bug bounty hunter Arne Swinnen discovered two vulnerabilities in image-sharing social network Instagram that allowed him to brute-force Instagram account passwords and take over user accounts with minimal efforts. Both brute-force attack issues were exploitable due to Instagram's weak password policies and its practice of using incremental user IDs. "This could have allowed an attacker to compromise many accounts without any user interaction, including high-profile ones," Swinnen wrote in a blog post describing details of both vulnerabilities. Brute-Force Attack Using Mobile Login API Swinnen discovered that an attacker could have performed brute force attack against any Instagram account via its Android authentication API URL, due to improper security implementations. According to his blog post , fo
This 10-year-old Boy becomes the youngest Bug Bounty Hacker

This 10-year-old Boy becomes the youngest Bug Bounty Hacker

May 07, 2016
" Talent has no Age Limit " That's what I said for a 10-year-old Finnish boy on our official Facebook page while sharing his recent achievement with our readers i.e. Winning $10,000 bug bounty from Instagram . Last Tuesday when we at The Hacker News first acknowledged this talented boy and the flaw he discovered in image-sharing social network Instagram, I did not have an idea that the Facebook post would get an enormous response from our followers, encouraging me to introduce Jani to our website readers too. Those who aren't aware, Jani from Helsinki recently reported an Instagram bug to Facebook that allowed him to delete other Instagram users' comments just by entering a malicious code into the app's comment field. " I would have been able to eliminate anyone's comment from Instagram, even Justin Bieber, " Jani told a local newspaper. Jani responsibly disclosed the vulnerability details to Facebook, who owns Instagram, in February and
Instagram Adds Two-Step Verification to Prevent Account from being Hacked

Instagram Adds Two-Step Verification to Prevent Account from being Hacked

Feb 17, 2016
Hijacking an online account is not a complicated procedure, not at least in 2016. Today, Instagram confirmed that the company is in the process to roll out two-factor authentication for its 400 Million users. It is impossible to make your online accounts hack-proof, but you can make them less vulnerable. Then what you can do to protect yourselves from hackers? Several companies provide more enhanced steps like Encrypted Channel Services, Security Questions, Strict Password Policy and so on. But, what would you do if a hacker had somehow managed to access your accounts' passwords? Since the online accounts do not have an intelligent agent inbuilt to verify whether the person is the legit driver of the account; beyond a username and password match. Hence the concept of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) born out! Jumbos like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon have already blended the 2FA feature with their services to tackle account hijacking. 2-F
Instagram Patches flaw that Makes Private Photos Visible

Instagram Patches flaw that Makes Private Photos Visible

Jan 14, 2015
Your Instagram is not as Private as You Think. Millions of private Instagram photos may have been exposed publicly on the web until the company patched a privacy hole this weekend. Instagram team was unaware of a security vulnerability from long time which allowed anyone with access to an image's URL to view the photo, even those shared by users whose accounts are set to "private." In other words, If a private user shares an Instagram post with another service, such as Twitter or Facebook as part of the upload process, that shared photo will remain viewable to the public despite its privacy settings. The flaw was first reported by  David Yanofsky  at Quartz and Instagram acknowledged the issue last week before patching the flaw. In a statement to Quartz, an Instagram representative said: ' If you choose to share a specific piece of content from your account publicly, that link remains public but the account itself is still private, ' The Instagram vulnera
Instasheep — Instagram Account Hacking Tool Released

Instasheep — Instagram Account Hacking Tool Released

Jul 30, 2014
Two days ago, we reported at The Hacker News about a critical issue in the most popular image and video sharing service, Instagram app for mobiles , that allows an attacker to hijack users' account and successfully access private photos, delete victim's photos, edit comments and also post new images. Yesterday, a London developer Stevie Graham has released a tool called " Instasheep " a play on the 2010 Facebook stealer Firesheep , a Firefox extension that can be used to compromise online accounts in certain circumstances automatically using a click of mouse. Graham discovered the Instagram issue years ago and was shocked when he realized it hadn't been fixed by Facebook yet. He released the tool after claiming Facebook refused to pay a bug bounty for his reported vulnerabilities affecting the Instagram iOS mobile application. Graham tweeted about the issue: " Denied bug bounty. Next step is to write automated tool enabling mass hijacking of accounts, " he wrote. "
Instagram Mobile App Issue Leads to Account Hijacking Vulnerability

Instagram Mobile App Issue Leads to Account Hijacking Vulnerability

Jul 28, 2014
In the era of Government surveillance, ensuring the security and safety of our private communications regardless of platform – email, VOIP, message, even cookies stored – should be the top priority of the Internet industry. Some industry came together to offer Encryption as the protection against government surveillance, but some left security holes that may expose your personal data. A critical issue on Instagram's Android Application has been disclosed by a security researcher that could allow an attacker to hijack users' account and successfully access private photos, delete victim's photos, edit comments and also post new images. Instagram , acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approximately US$1 billion, is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.
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