49+ Million Instagram Influencers’ Private Contact Info Exposed! – The Buyer’s Journey 60

A new report from TechCrunch shows that millions of Instagram influencers had their private data exposed from an unsecured database run by a social media influencer marketing company. We discuss the breach in today’s episode.

The Instagram Influencers Data Leak

Zach Whittaker on TechCrunch reports that a massive database of instagram influencers, celebrities, and brand accounts was found online. The database contained public info scraped from the accounts. That info includes their bio, profile picture, number of followers, verification status, and their location by city and country. In addition, the database contained the private contact information, such as email and phone number, of the accounts.

Whittaker reports that the database was on Amazon Web Services and was left easily accessible and without a password. At the time of Whittaker’s writing, the database had over 49 million records and was growing by the hour. TechCrunch was able to trace the databse back to Chtrbox, a Mumbai-based social media marketing firm.

Shortly after TechCrunch reached out to Chtrbox, the database was pulled offline. While Chtrbox did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment, they did send out this tweet:

TechCrunch reached out to some of the influencers involved and it was revealed that some didn’t even have contact with Chtrbox. That does beg the question: where did some of this private information come from?

A Facebook representative told Whittaker they were looking into the matter. “We’re looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources,” said in an updated Facebook statement to TechCrunch. “We’re also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available.”

The Commexis Take

Rarely do we discuss data leaks on our show unless they directly involve one of the big platforms. However, we thought this issue was important to raise awareness of for any Instagram influencers. While most of the information in the leak was publicly available, the private information leak is still worrying. Thankfully, no passwords or addresses were in the database.

Whittaker points out that there was a security bug in the Instagram API that could allow hackers to obtain email addresses and phone numbers of six million Instagram accounts.

Check out our next episode where we’ll discuss a news article covering the Awareness stage of The Buyer’s Journey.

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