A possible security flaw in Instagram allows all private posts, both in the feed and in Stories, to be accessed and shared with people outside the social network. From basic HTML knowledge, anyone can inspect the source code of the Instagram web page in the browser and find the URL of photos and videos. The information was reported by the BuzzFeed News website last Monday (9).
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Wanted by TechTudo, Instagram has stated that this is not exactly a security breach, but the URL generated by a content posted on the Internet, just like any other. Also, for any strangers to have access to the posts, I need some of the user's trust to share the link.
Instagram Fails Let Anyone See Photos and Private Stories Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / TechTudo
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In addition to enabling the URL detection of any JPEG and MP4 file, the inspect elements tool, available in browsers like Chrome and Firefox, lets you find out who interacted with the published content. According to BuzzFeed, the "trick" even allows the rescue of images that have already been deleted from the social network. Story links would remain available on Facebook's servers even after expiration in 24 hours, and feed post URLs would be active even longer.
To find the links of the publications, I need to follow the locked account. If a follower gets access to URLs, they can easily share them with users who are not friends with the author of the post and not even part of Instagram. Since the social network is unable to track who sees posts and stories outside the app, the person who has their images leaked will have no idea who made it or how many people viewed the content.
In response to TechTudo, a Facebook representative said the similar process of taking photo prints on private accounts. The behavior described is the same as taking a screenshot of a friend's photo on Facebook or Instagram and sharing it with others. We do not give people access to a user's private account. In addition, the company points out that, by clicking on the link, the person has access only to that publication, since the user's profile remains private and his photos can not be seen by third parties.
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According to the BuzzFeed website, however, the method differs from screenshots. This is because the URLs contain some information about the photo or video in question, including upload details and photo dimensions. In addition, materials can be accessed even after they have been removed from the profile.
Because this is not exactly a vulnerability, Instagram should not release a security update to correct the problem. Therefore, the best tip to avoid unpleasant situations is to pay attention to the posted content. Avoid posting photos and stories that reveal details about your intimacy or expose sensitive information. It is also worth "clean up" the list of followers and make sure that the profile is accompanied only by trusted people.