How will you respond when you come to know that your personal information got leaked to the public? A feeling of betrayal will surely come to your mind and take out a piece of yourself. This is what recent research has shown under which it is claimed that Instagram leaked its user’s phone numbers and email addresses for about 4 months.
A data scientist named David Stier had already discovered the problem a year ago when he informed the company in public interest. As per him, the source code of the account holder contained contact information when loaded on a web browser. However, the contact information was not available on the desktop version of the company’s website but it was available on the application.
Stier said that the exposure of contact information which includes phone numbers and email id in the source code is not secure. He also says that the information available in the source code could let hackers take the information. Moreover, they could prepare a separate list which contains such information of minors and businesses who wants to have their sensitive information being kept private.
Instagram Tried to Escape from its Vulnerability
Stephanie Otway said in a statement, the data Stier found the website’s source code was not private. She said, “The contact information discovered in this case is not private contact information, but contact information a member of the Instagram community chose to share when converting their profile to a Business Profile.”
Moreover, she said that during setting up of your business profiles you agree that your contact information would be public and hence accessible to everyone. The company has also deleted the profile of ‘Chtrbox’ which is a company based in India.
The exposure shows how easy it is to find sensitive information on the internet. The most recent revelation of another tech giant Google which said it stored the password of some of its business customers in plain text which is a rather insecure practice.
This hence opens the gate for hackers and cyber criminals to take advantage of the sensitive information for various purposes. Meanwhile, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University said that it is more secure to store information in source code than making it available on the application or website itself.
Whatever the experts say, one thing is clear that no matter how hard you try to make your information secure on the internet, there are bright chances that your information is at the mercy of someone else. Recently in January this year, a cyber expert Troy Hunt revealed that he discovered a cache data of 773 million passwords which he did by breaching various data available on the internet.
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