Instagram users hacked by smoothie spammer [update]

Instagram App of the Year

If you’ve been having trouble logging into your Instagram account this morning, or have noticed any strange photos posted to your stream, you’re not alone. Several users are reporting that they’ve been hacked on the popular photo sharing network.

Reports first started surfacing about the issue on Twitter around 11PM last night, according to a report by The Verge. Users who suffered attacks complained that unauthorized photos along with strange URLs had been posted to their accounts…

Here’s The Verge‘s Nathan Olivarez-Giles:

“Instagram users are taking to Twitter tonight to complain that they have been hacked, with photos of smoothies posted to their accounts without permission. Those affected also say that a strange URL has been placed in their Instagram profile bios…

Some Instagram users began tweeting that they were locked out of their user profiles after trying to reset their passwords. Others said that photos from the breach disappeared before they had a chance to remove them. In most cases, the added bio URLs remained in place even after the photos were taken down.”

At this point, the breadth of the attack isn’t clear. We don’t know how many users have been hacked, or how it’s being done. It could be a simple phishing scam pulling user logins, or, worst case scenario, hackers could have infiltrated Instagram servers.

Major companies—particularly those that provide Internet services with large user bases—are quickly learning how damaging hackers can be to their business. Both Viber and Apple were attacked last week, and Apple still hasn’t really fully recovered.

We’ll let you know when we have more information on this Instagram attack, but for the time being, you should probably stay away from tapping on strange-looking URLs. It sounds like they are made out to look like BBC news links, if that helps.

UPDATE: in a statement to iDB, an Instagram spokesperson confirmed the incident:

Last night a small portion of our users experienced a spam incident where unwanted photos were posted from their accounts. Our security and spam team quickly took actions to secure the accounts involved, and the posted photos are being deleted.

If you ask me, Instagram took way too long to acknowledge the incident and failed to mention how it happened in the first place. As a user, I’d like to learn more about the source of the incident.