Hackers are taking down people’s Instagram accounts. But exactly why and what they’re doing with them isn’t immediately clear.
In a look into the hacking activities recently, Mashable found that hundreds of Instagram accounts have been hijacked since the beginning of August. What’s worse, it appears that an increasing number of accounts are being targeted. The attacks all appear to have the same characteristics.
According to the report, people try to log into their Instagram accounts and find that they’re logged out. When they tried to get back in, they’re unable to do so. When they examine their accounts, they find that their pictures are still on their accounts, but their profiles have been removed. Their main image is replaced by a Disney or Pixar character in many cases, according to the report. Interestingly, the hackers aren’t posting images from the accounts.
When the users try to regain access to their accounts, they’re finding that the hackers have changed all contact information to Russian e-mail addresses with the .ru Russian domain attached, according to Mashable. They therefore cannot access their accounts, leaving the hackers in full control over their data.
While it’s difficult to determine exactly how widespread the hacks are, Mashable said that affected Instagram users are increasingly turning to Twitter and Reddit to express their frustration. The Mashable investigation suggests the attacks are increasing in their frequency. And at least for now, it’s unclear how the hackers are targeting accounts and what people can do to reclaim their accounts.
For its part, Instagram told Mashable in a statement that it has a protocol in place for people with hacked accounts to regain them. Instagram shuts off all access to the accounts and allows for the real owners to reset their passwords.