Tech

Massive fruit spam hits Instagram, affected users forced to reset passwords

By Randell Suba , Jun 30, 2013 06:27 PM EDT
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Spammers threw a lot of bananas, apples and oranges to Instagram's system, prompting the photo and video-sharing website to ask affected account holders to change their passwords.

The fruit-loving perpetrators made sure the spam attack cannot be averted with just a simple swipes of the fruit ninja as the images led to fake websites and triggered a change in account details and even sent out fruity images on one's behalf.

GigaOm was the first to report the spamming activities saying that clicking the images led to a bogus BBC News site that showed a "Tropical Fruit Burns 17 Pounds in 22 Days. Exclusive Offer for Readers" headline.

One of the links used bit.ly and at the time of reporting, it had generated more than 35,000 clicks spread from United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Philippines and 90 more countries. The clicks for the said link peaked on June 29 between 10 to 11pm with more than 27,000 hits.

"Earlier today a small portion of our users experienced a spam incident where unwanted photos were posted from their accounts. Our security and spam team quickly took actions to secure the accounts involved, and the posted photos are being deleted," a spokesperson from Facebook, the mother company of Instagram, told The Next Web.

Instagram has also sent notifications to affected users, containing a link to reset their passwords using a web browser.

"We detected some suspicious activity that suggests your Instagram account may have been compromised. Don't worry, we've take measures to secure your account," the notice stated.

Bit.ly, the URL shortening service used for some of the fruit images that hit Instagram, has also issued a warning page telling users that the link might be malicious.

Instagram users have also taken the discussion about the fruit-themed spamming to Twitter.

"It's sad and funny that my sister knew my Instagram was hacked because I posted a pic of fruit and the caption was about my healthy diet," a certain @amychance tweeted.

Instagram has more than 130 million active users every month. The photo-sharing network launched its video-sharing services on June 20, allowing users to post 15-second videos and utilizing several filters.

The Instagram spam attack is the only kind of fruit diet doctors and techies alike will not recommend.

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