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Even seemingly secure apps like Instagram are subject to cybersecurity threats. That’s the takeaway from a recent report stating that hackers were able to gain unlawful access to high profile Instagram accounts. A bug in Instagram security application programming interface (API), is what the hackers used to gain access to the accounts.

The danger of this Instagram security hack is that the application uses API to communicate with other apps, where more valuable information is often stored. This access allowed hackers to steal phone numbers and email addresses, among other things. The hacks came on various high profile Instagram accounts, however Instagram refused to state which ones and how many accounts were affected. Coincidentally, this report came just a couple days after Instagram’s most followed user, Selena Gomez, had her account hacked, resulting in nude photo’s of ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber being posted on her Instagram. The account was immediately taken down, before being restored later that same day.

In a statement, Instagram provided assurance to its users, “We recently discovered that one or more individuals obtained unlawful access to a number of high-profile Instagram users’ contact information — specifically email address and phone number — by exploiting a bug in an Instagram API. No account passwords were exposed.” Instagram went on to assure their loyal users regarding Instagram security, stating, “We fixed the bug swiftly and are running a thorough investigation.”

Instagram did contact all of their verified users to let them know about the hack and the potential leak of private information. They encouraged their account holders to be careful with unknown calls, messages and emails, as it could be related to the recent hacks.

This was not the first time Bieber has been exposed publically in this fashion. The recent images posted of him on Gomez’ account were the same ones that made the rounds back in 2015 after a lavish Bora Bora vacation. This raises the issue of cyber security, especially on social media accounts. Hacking and posting nude photos is nothing new. Other celebrities to be in the news for this recently include Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn, Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, Katharine McPhee, and Stella Maxwell.

This isn’t the first time Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are making headlines together, either. Some of those headlines have been positive. They publically dated, starting back in 2011, making major headlines for their adoring fans. However multiple breakups have been the more common story for the on-again-off-again pop stars.

These Instagram security hacks on high-profile accounts are a major blow to a celebrity’s public image. This is amplified by the fact that celebrities rely on their social media sites to bring in extra money through sponsorships. Selena Gomez, for example reportedly makes $550,000 for each endorsement post she puts on Instagram, the most of any celebrity. Just behind her is Kim Kardashian, who makes $500,000 per endorsement. It would not come as a shock if parents of tweens and teens encourage their children not to follow certain pop-stars if their account is being hacked with nude pictures, reducing followers and therefore reducing income.

Read more news articles from our Security section.

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