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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Instagram in-app bug could give hackers access to spy on you

The bug discovered could give hackers potential access to personal information.

ARIZONA, USA — Everywhere you look, we’re surrounded by jaw-dropping technology. It can track every step we take and every key stroke we make.  

While it’s supposed to make life more convenient, it also makes us more vulnerable to hackers.  

A bug recently found in the coding of the Instagram app could give hackers easier access to try to spy on you.     

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with more than 100 million photos uploaded every day and about 1 billion monthly active users.  

Alarming research shows a critical vulnerability uncovered in the coding of the Instagram app that allows hackers to turn their phones into a spying tool.  

“The way that Instagram actually processes image files was vulnerable to a cyberattack,” said Kierk Sanderlin, head of engineering for Check Point Software Technologies.  

The bug discovered could give hackers potential access to your personal information. 

“…to the camera, to the microphone, to your contacts, your geolocation,” he said. “We call this a remote code execution.”  

Sanderlin says an attacker could gain access, all by simply saving a single malicious image to a users’ library.  

The good news here, the company’s cybersecurity researchers worked with Facebook and Instagram to close the susceptibility, but you’ll still want to do a few simple things to protect yourself from becoming a possible victim of a cybercrime. 

“Make sure you have the latest version of Instagram… this issue does not exist there,” Sanderlin said. “Make sure that you’re updating your mobile devices to the latest firmware versions.”  

Also, change your passwords on a regular basis and don’t use a password you have already used before and read the fine print before agreeing, when an app is asking for permission. That way you won’t be giving an app more access than what’s really needed. 

Check Point Infinity architecture delivers consolidated Gen V cyber security across networks, cloud, and mobile environments.