A Facebook flaw reveals personal information of Instagram users

A Facebook bug was discovered by a cyber-researcher that reveals Instagram users email addresses and birth dates.

When you sign up for an Instagram account, the service ensures you that your personal information like email address and birthday will not be publicly visible. However, cybersecurity researcher Saugat Pokharel found a vulnerability that could help intruders to easily access the private information of Instagram users.

The error was resolved after being disclosed to Facebook. But some business accounts were getting access to the bug by exploiting experimental features being tested out by Facebook.

According to Pokharel, Facebook was exploring some experimental features which lead to the emergence of a bug. Even after resolved by Facebook, a bug is still available to the companies that were granted access to these experimental features. It was confirmed by the TheVerge that the Facebook Business Suite tool used by the attackers as I was easily available on every business account.

The purpose of an experimental update was to indicate if a Facebook business account was connected to Instagram and a part of the test group, then the business suite tool would display the direct message as well as personal information that includes email address and birthdays. Just by sending a direct message, all business users can get the available information.

Pokharel observed that the attacks were seen on the accounts that were public and had been set to not allow public DMs. If the account did not acknowledge DMs, the user would theoretically not have received any notice showing that their profile may have been accessed.

Pokharel, an experienced bug tracker found out that Instagram did not actually erase the posts that were deleted back in August.

A Facebook representative explained, as the test experience began in October, the flaw was only accessible for a limited time before it was resolved. The company does not reveal how many people have had access to the feature, however, it claims it was a small experiment and the inquiry showed no signs of violence.

Pokharel said that the issue was resolved within a few hours after being reported.

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