Apple and Google have been confronted with yet another problem: passwords stolen by an Instagram application, InstaAgent. The application was used for tracking people who viewed the users’ accounts, and no surprise here, it was the most downloaded free app in Canada and the UK. David L-R, iOS developer, has reported that InstaAgent was collecting the users’ names and passwords from Instagram and sending them to a remote server. But it didn’t stop here. Furthermore, the app would then post pictures on the users’ profiles in order to promote itself. And the worst part is that it couldn’t truly identify who has been viewing your profile, as most of these applications which claim so.
The AppStore housed two versions of the application. “Who Viewed Your Profile – InstaAgent” has been successfully removed by Google and Apple, but the other one, simply titled “InstaAgent” remains available, as it seems to be harmless. As for the users who have been scammed, there is no information yet on refunds. The lucky clients who downloaded the application from the Apple AppStore over the last 14 days have the chance to get their money back though. Most importantly, users who have downloaded InstaAgent need to change their passwords.
Instagram has not been held accountable for the case, as it is not linked to InstaAgent. The company has also advised its users to not use any application with dubious origins, and reminded them that no third-party app is allowed to upload pictures instead of the user. This is of course not the first time Apple and Google have been confronted with malware. Most recently, Apple had an incident in September with a hacked Chinese version of Xcode, used to create applications.
In the digital era it gets more and more difficult to keep your privacy secure, especially since we just cannot stay away from social media. Users have to be more vigilant as each day goes by. However, there are alternatives to getting your password stolen: there are several password generators that enable users to come up with complicated passwords, and an anti-virus program always helps. Last but most importantly, people should be wary of installing apps promising impossible features such as viewing private information or getting thousands of followers, subscribers or friends on social media.
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