Skip to main content

Instagram tool accidentally exposes user passwords. Were you affected?

The Instagram tool that allows users to download a copy of their data from the social media platform had a security flaw that accidentally leaked passwords in plain text.

In April, Facebook-owned Instagram rolled out a Download Your Data tool that sends users a file containing all the pictures, comments, and other information that they have shared on the platform. The feature was rolled out to comply with new data privacy regulations in Europe and to address the privacy concerns of users around the world amid Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Unfortunately, the Download Your Data tool contained a security issue that also sent users their passwords in plaintext in the URL, The Information reported. In addition, for some reason, the passwords were also stored on Facebook’s servers, though they have since been deleted.

The security issue of the Download Your Data tool, which has already been fixed, only affected a “small number of people,” a spokesperson told The Information. However, these users may have had their Instagram passwords exposed if they were using a shared computer, or if they were on a compromised network. If they use the same password on other websites or apps, then the security issue becomes a bigger problem.

Instagram sent notifications to the users who were affected by the vulnerability, so those who were not contacted should not worry about their account passwords being compromised. However, for all Instagram users who recently utilized the Download Your Data tool, changing your password or activating two-factor authentication would not hurt, just to be sure.

The newly exposed bug follows a strange Instagram hack in August that locked users out of the platform because their account information, particularly their password, mobile number, and email address, were changed. In several cases, the emails linked to the compromised accounts were changed to Russian emails. The accounts, however, did not share new images, nor did they delete old ones.

Instagram hacks come in several different forms, and users will need to perform specific actions to recover their Instagram accounts. Here is a guide on what to do if you suddenly find yourself a victim of Instagram hacks, so that you can get your account back.

Editors' Recommendations

Aaron Mamiit
Aaron received a NES and a copy of Super Mario Bros. for Christmas when he was 4 years old, and he has been fascinated with…
Usually $279, this Nike edition of the Apple Watch is $129 today
The Apple Watch SE 2 with Nike Bounce watch face.

The first generation of the Apple Watch SE was one of the best smartwatches of the time, not only because of its reasonably great specs but also because it was the cheapest Apple smartwatch you could buy. It gave you access to Apple's ecosystem and a great companion to an iPhone without having to spend several hundred dollars to do so. Of course, while there's been a new release of the Watch SE since then, the original SE remains a strong contender for a great budget-friendly Apple smartwatch.

Even better, there's a great sale going on right now at Walmart for the very fine-looking 40mm Nike Edition of the Apple Watch SE first gen. You can grab it for just $129, rather than the usual $149, which is a nice $20 in savings while still getting a gorgeous-looking watch.

Read more
Save $1,120 on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 with this deal
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 display.

Samsung was the first company to bring foldable phones into the market, and while there have been a lot of other offerings from various companies, Samsung's foldables still remain at the head of the pack. In fact, one of the best foldables on the market is currently the Galaxy Z Fold 5. While it isn't as big of an upgrade compared to the Fold 4, if you're entering the foldable market for the first time and want to get the best, then the Fold 5 is the foldable to go for, especially if you're already integrated into Samsung's ecosystem.

That said, the best of the best can be very expensive, and that's true of the Fold 5. Luckily, there's a great deal directly from Samsung wherein you can save up to $1,000 worth of trade-in credit, as well as a storage upgrade from 256GB to 512GB, which is worth around $120. Even better, if you don't have or want to trade in, you can still take advantage of the storage upgrade, which is excellent since the Fold 5 doesn't have expandable storage.

Read more
The best iPhone 15 screen protectors in 2023: 10 great buys
A view of the USB-C port on the green iPhone 15.

The iPhone 15 lineup has landed, boasting exciting new features like significantly improved cameras and brighter screens on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus and a sleek new titanium frame and powerful Action button for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

As usual, Apple has equipped all of its iPhone 15 models with Ceramic Shield glass, which has proven tough enough to withstand most drops and impacts. This could lead you to believe you don't really need a screen protector, and you may be partially right — at least when it comes to protecting your screen against cracks. However, it's challenging to create glass that's both highly durable against impacts and resistant against scratches, and Apple's Ceramic Shield definitely leans toward the former.

Read more