HACKER ATTACK: Selena Gomez

Johannesburg -  An Instagram hack originally believed to target only celebrities' accounts has also accessed millions of users’ private data, ESET South Africa said on Tuesday. 

Originally believed to have focused solely on gaining access to A-lister accounts, it was recently revealed that almost six million Instagram accounts might have also had private information stolen.

This comes just days after singer Selena Gomez's account appeared to be one of the first celebrity accounts to have been compromised. 

Gomez had her Instagram account hacked and nude pictures of her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber posted to users. 

Another alleged victim of the hack was the official account for the President of the United States of America, which is run by the White House social media team.

Following this, Instagram's Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Mike Krieger, explained that a bug had been discovered on the social media platform "that could be used to access some people’s email address and phone number even if they were not public".

"No passwords or other Instagram activity was revealed. We quickly fixed the bug, and have been working with law enforcement on the matter. 

"Although we cannot determine which specific accounts may have been impacted, we believe it was a low percentage of Instagram accounts."

Commenting on the news of the hack was Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET SA, who said the news that ‘regular’ accounts were targeted was a further concern for the social media giant. 

"This [especially] after they had assured everyone on August 30 that it was only celebs that were targeted [ by the hack].

"The hackers, who are calling themselves Doxagram, have created an online database on the dark web that is accessible for cybercriminals. The group claim that 'it is only $10 (price of two cups of coffee) for celebrity contact info'." 

Van Vlaanderen added that while the social media giant originally claimed that only a “low percentage” of accounts were affected, this was refuted by the hackers, forcing the Facebook owned company to advise users how to protect themselves from such an attack. 

This this was not the first time Instagram made headlines news for security issues, with the last time being when the social media network was used by cybercriminals to build URL paths for C&C administration. 

"But there was no hack and this probably did not impact upon millions of users like this attack did," van Vlaanderen said.