Instagram hack reveals celebrities' contact details

A bug in Instagram's software let cyber-attackers have access to celebrities personal information, including email addresses and phone numbers.

The social network, which has more than 700 million monthly active users, said it was hacked by cyber-attackers, exposing the contact information of certain well-known figures, according to a BBC report. The company did not say who was hacked or how many of its users were hacked.

Instagram said passwords were not compromised, but did note that Instagrammers should be wary of activity on their account. Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion in cash and stock.


While the hack is unlikely to hurt Instagram's attractiveness to celebrities in the interim, it does put a negative light on the service, analysts say.

"Assuming it caught the problem soon after the breach was discovered, the fallout shouldn’t be too bad, especially because it won’t affect the vast majority if Instagram’s hundreds of millions of users, but it’s still a major black eye for the service, which has big followings for its celebrity users," Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson said in comments obtained by Fox News.

The hack was the fault of Instagram's application programming interface (API), which has since been fixed.

“We recently discovered that one or more individuals obtained unlawful access to a number of high-profile Instagram users’ contact information – specifically email address and phone number— by exploiting a bug in an Instagram API," an Instagram spokesman told Fox News. "No account passwords were exposed. We fixed the bug swiftly and are running a thorough investigation."

Earlier this week it emerged that that Selena Gomez's Instagram account had been hacked. The account, which has more than 125 million Instagram followers, posted nude photos of her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber. It's unclear if Gomez's hack is related to the broader hack or was a separate attack.

The account was taken down and restored, with the nude photos deleted.

The photo-centric social network has also been in the spotlight recently after Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin responded to a negative comment on her feed.


In a photo, Linton tagged some of the designers she was wearing and in response, one user wrote: “Glad we could pay for your little getaway,” including the hashtag “deplorable.”

Linton responded by saying: “Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country."

“I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did,” she continued. “Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours.”

Linton has since made her account private.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @chris_ciaccia

This story has been updated to include Instagram's response and comments from Dawson.