Instagram influencers’ data leaked online; Traced to Mumbai-based marketing firm

The files contained public data scraped from the accounts, including the users’ bio, profile picture, number of followers, their location by city and country, and their private contact information

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On May 20, Monday, technology website TechCrunch had reported that they had found a leak of massive database of contact information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brands, that was left exposed and without a password. The leak was traced to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox.

Meanwhile, the database consisted of more than 49 million records when the website published the report. Along with this, the website stated that their security researcher Anurag Sen had alerted the owner after discovering the breach.

As per the tech site, the files consisted of public data scraped from the accounts, including the users’ bio, profile picture, the number of followers, their location by city and country, and their private contact information such as email addresses and phone numbers.

On the other hand, Instagram is looking into the matter and had told BBC that it was trying to find out where the data had come from.

“We are looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources,” it said in a statement. “We are also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available.”


What is Chtrbox?

Chtrbox is a social media marketing company that allegedly pays influencers to post sponsored content on their accounts. The record with Chtrbox contained details of the worth of each account that was calculated using the number of followers, engagement, reach, likes and shares.

Meanwhile, Chtrbox has taken the database offline after TechCrunch contacted it. The company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Pranay Swarup did not answer questions about how the company obtained private Instagram account email addresses and phone numbers.

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