THAT RINGING SOUND is the irony klaxon going off after a database stuffed with the personal information of Instagram influencers surfaced online.
Some 49 million records of so-called influencers, celebrities and brand accounts on Instagram were exposed after the database was left on unsecured on Elasticsearch, reported TechCrunch.
Security researcher Anurag Sen spotted the unsecured database and found that data ranging from profile pictures to private contact information could be scraped it.
TechCrunch was alerted to the issue and then traced the database back to Chtrbox, a Mumbai-based social marketing firm. The company presumably had the data as it pays influencer types to post sponsored content on Instagram.
Given influencers basically live their life in the limelight, posting inane details of their existence on the seflie/belfie-based social network, one might shrug at the exposure of such data.
Nevertheless, exposing personal and private information is a big no-no, and while Chrtbox has since yanked the database offline, there's no info on how it got hold of things like personal contact detail that should have been kept under lock and key by Instagram and owner Facebook.
Scraping data off Instagram is also not allowed, so there's a chance Chtrbox could have found a bug or exploit that allowed it to suck up Instagram info, as such issues have popped up in the past.
"We're looking into the issue to understand if the data described - including email and phone numbers - was from Instagram or from other sources," Facebook told TechCrunch. "We're also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available."
We're not going to shed any tears of influencers getting any more exposed than they already are. But the whole situation shows Facebook still has some way to go before it's business is as privacy-focussed as Mark Zuckerberg supposedly wants it to be. µ
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