June 30, 2013
Instagram Goes Bananas: Fruit-Themed Spam Attack Hits Photo-Sharing Network
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
As far as spam attacks go, this one certainly wins points for creativity: Instagram was targeted Saturday by cyberattackers who flooded the photo-sharing network with pictures of fruit.
Those images were accompanied by a link to a marketing page for a new diet regimen centered around -- you guessed it -- eating fruit, according to CNET's Edward Moyer.
The URL led users to a fake BBC News webpage touting the weight loss benefits of eating tropical fruit, he added. In most cases, the link had been shortened using the Bit.ly service. Bit.ly has since issued warning messages to Web surfers attempting to click through to the page.
"The scale of this seems to be pretty large," Om Malik of GigaOm explained Saturday afternoon. "It appears to be one of the first large-scale spam attacks to hit Instagram, a service that has grown exponentially over the past year."
By Saturday evening, Facebook (owners of the photo-sharing service) released a statement to the media. The social network claimed that only a small portion of Instagram users were victimized by the spam attack, and that its security team acted quickly to protect the accounts involved in the attack.
Facebook also said that the pictures were in the process of being deleted, and Instagram sent out notices to those whose accounts appeared to be affected by the attack, according to media reports.
"Those who feel as if their accounts have been compromised only really have one major recourse: Resetting their passwords (and, hopefully, using as strong a passphrase as they can remember)," PCMag.com advised. "It's also worth going into one's third-party application access list... which allows you to see what non-Instagram sites have access to your account."
"Revoke the privileges of anything that sounds unknown or odd," they added. "Beyond that, users can also check their follower lists to make sure they aren't following any obvious spam accounts -- and do report those, or any spam-filled comments you happen to find on your photos, if that's the case."