Published: Fri, May 24, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Data of Instagram influencers, celebrities leaked, database traced to Mumbai firm

Data of Instagram influencers, celebrities leaked, database traced to Mumbai firm

There's been a potential leak of personally identifiable information from Instagram, but it's not clear yet whether the data came directly came from the social media company. At the time of TechCrunch's reporting, there were over 49 million records, but the number was growing.

A Mumbai-based social marketing firm, Chtrbox, is now under the scanner as it leaked private data of over 49 million Instagram users (mainly celebs, popular influencers, food bloggers, et al) that was stored on an AWS server.

The database was discovered by an Indian researcher, who then contacted USA technology news outlet TechCrunch, the BBC reports.

Some of the data was scraped from the Instagram accounts, like bio, profile picture, number of followers, verification status, etc. In some cases, the location of accounts, as well as owners' email addresses and phone numbers were listed. The contact info was what they probably used when they signed up for their account, so there is some internal leak going on there as well. Chtrbox works with influencers from other social media platforms that have a large follower count. "This database did not include any sensitive personal data and only contained information available from the public domain, or self reported by influencers". A city-based social media firm has found itself at the centre of the latest user data breach to plague Facebook, with personal data of up to 49 million Instagram users found unprotected online.

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The database belonged to Chtrbox, an Indian marketing company that links influencers to brands that want to advertise their wares. Later, they sold the data for bitcoin.

Chtrbox apparently counts TikTok, the viral video-sharing app as one of its partners.

Facebook has commented on the report, saying that it is conducting an investigation into the matter.

Anurag Sen, a security researcher, found the database hosted on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) server without any password protection on the data, which included private emails and phone numbers of 'prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers'.

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