A Phishing Scam Is Targeting Instagram Users To Steal Email And Instagram Credentials

Security researchers have warned that a phishing scam is targeting users of the Facebook-owned Instagram app via DMs. According to a report published by TrendMicro, a group of cybercriminals is sending Instagram users seemingly legitimate-looking messages to phish them. Cybercriminals are trying to steal the Instagram account as well as email credentials of users. According to security researchers, this campaign has targeted hundreds of startup business owners, celebrities, and various other entities with sizeable followings on the social media platform.

Researchers said that this phishing scam first came on their radar after the Instagram account of a police officer was targeted. He has over 16,000 followers on the app. It is important to note that in this campaign, cybercriminals send the phishing messages on Instagram itself. On the other hand, previous phishing messages were leveraging email medium.

In the new campaign, hackers pretend to be the Instagram Help Center to steal the credentials of users. They claim that a copyright violation complaint has been filed against the account of the victim, and now their Instagram account is at risk of being deleted from the social media platform. A link is also available in that message which masquerades as a form for sending an appeal to Instagram. However, it is actually a phishing link, i,e., according to researchers of Trend Micro. It the victim opens the phishing link, they are redirected to the page where they are requested to provide their Instagram username.

When the victim clicks ‘Next’ on the phishing landing page, a new screen appears. This screen asks users for their email address, email password, name, and Instagram password. After inputting credentials clicking Continue, victims are redirected to the legitimate-looking Instagram sign-in page. Researchers also explained that if the victim was already signed in to Instagram before clicking the said button, they are then redirected to their homepage.

Once hackers have a hold of Instagram credentials and email credentials, they can sign into the Instagram account of the victim, unlink their mobile number connected to the Instagram account, and also change the email address linked to that account. Furthermore, bad actors can also take over the email account of the victim. Researchers recommend users to be cautious of seemingly legitimate websites that request credentials for another website. People should also examine message content for spelling and grammatical mistakes. You should never open links from suspicious resources.

Read next: Google mops up over 5K offending Android apps that were found to be spreading Terracotta malware in Play Store

Featured Photo: Esra Hacioglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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