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Security Bug Reveals Some Users Instagram Passwords Inadvertently

The passwords of some users appeared in the URL field of web browsers when they tried to download their data.

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A security bug in Instagram may have inadvertently exposed the passwords of some of its users according to a report in Engadget quoting The Information. However, Instagram has clarified in a statement that only very few users were affected by this security breach.

“The issue was discovered internally and affected a very small number of people,” a company spokesperson was quoted as saying. This bug came about because of an update that Instagram rolled out in April, which allowed users to download their data, following Facebook’s hearings at the US Senate and ahead of the European GDPR coming into force.

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Should You Be Worried?

Instagram says that the passwords of some of its users were sent in plain text in the URL field of the web browser. The company says these passwords were stored in Facebook’s servers. This breach led to speculation that passwords were being saved as plain text instead of being encrypted as is the norm, which could be a larger security concern.

However, Instagram has denied that saying all its passwords are encrypted and that this flaw has since been fixed. But as a word of caution, it has asked affected users to change their passwords.

What Should You Do?

It’s always good idea to change passwords regularly. Also, when entering passwords always look for the secure icon in the browser window before proceeding. Do not use common passwords such as your birthday, phone number, email address or car registration number.

In India, common religious phrases are also among the most common passwords. A strong password is a unique combination of letters (uppercase and lower case), numbers and special characters, which makes it tough for hackers to crack.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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