Threat Actors Use Fake Copyright Infringement Notifications in Instagram Hacking Campaign

Security researchers discovered that attackers are using fake copyright infringement notifications to hack Instagram influencer accounts.

Detected by Kaspersky Lab, the Instagram hacking campaign involves threat actors sending Instagram influencers fraudulent emails claiming that the social media network intends to permanently delete their account for copyright infringement. The attack email uses the social networking service’s official header and logo to deceive victims. It even originates from an email address — [email protected] or [email protected] — that looks similar to Instagram’s actual support email, [email protected].

Using these disguises, the email notifies targeted users that they have 24 hours to verify their account before it is deleted. Clicking on the email’s “Review complaint” button redirects users to a phishing page where they can supposedly appeal the decision to delete their profile.

At that point, users can proceed by clicking an “Appeal” link and submitting their Instagram credentials to the attackers. The scam then asks users to verify their email address by choosing their email provider and entering the login credentials for their account.

Just the Latest Instagram Hacking Attack

This is just the latest scam to target Instagram users. Back in August 2018, for instance, Mashable reported on a string of hacks in which threat actors took over users’ accounts and added a .ru email address to their profiles. News of another attack wave came a month later when Motherboard reported that attackers had hijacked at least four high-profile Instagrammers’ accounts and extorted them for money.

Most recently, Trend Micro detected yet another scam operation in February 2019 in which fraudsters targeted Instagram users with the false promise of a “verified” badge for their accounts.

How to Defend Against Phishing Attacks

Security professionals can help defend their organizations against phishing attacks by using ahead-of-threat detection to block potential phishing domains, even those that threat actors have cloned to look like legitimate websites.

Security teams should also test their phishing defenses by conducting a simulated phishing engagement. Organizations can then use this exercise to identify employees who need more training on social engineering attacks as well as to conduct follow-up testing for the entire workforce.

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David Bisson

Contributing Editor

David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley...