Hacker attacks via Instagram

2 min read
8 November 2017

Common problems on Instagram include spam comments or inappropriate private messages. However, there are much more dangerous things on the social network lurking below the surface.

The antivirus company Eset published a report on the Turla virus, which has intensified recently. The Turla virus infects a user’s computer, installing a bot that opens a backdoor for hacker attacks on popular sites. To control the bot, virus creators have taken an unusual approach; commands to infected computers are given in the comments area of Britney Spears’ Instagram account.

Britney Spears’ comment section may seem like a strange place to communicate with virus programmes, but in reality, these sections on popular accounts are ideal places for this practice:

  1. Comments are open and accessible and the virus program can easily read them while doing searches.
  2. Due to the large number of comments, comments get buried and are not moderated.
  3. Commands can be disguised as a typical comment so that it will not raise suspicion.

Instagram comments occupy an area in cyberspace that can be referred to as the “gray zone” - they are difficult to control, but easy to use for illegal or nefarious purposes. To put this into perspective, if Instagram had appeared half a century ago, comments in the Britney Spears account may have been used by cold war agents to exchange sensitive information.

So, if you happen to observe any strange comments from dummy accounts, it’s best to just delete them.