Scam of the day – August 4, 2014 – Instagram hacking threat

Instagram is a great app for sharing photographs and videos, however, it has recently been discovered that it can be easily hacked when it is used with public WiFi.  The core of the problem is that Instagram accounts do not communicate over an encrypted program.  An easy way to see if you are communicating by way of an encrypted program is to look at the web address and see if it starts with “https.”  If it starts with “http” without the “s,” your communication is not being encrypted and is not protected.  Hackers can obtain personal information such as your username, password and photos by hacking into public WiFi, which is easily done.  Perhaps the most disturbing part of the recent revelation that this security flaw exists is that  Facebook, the owner of Instagram has been aware of this problem for two years.  Facebook officials say that they are still working on moving to “https,” but frankly this process should not take this long.

TIPS

Never communicate anything of importance online unless the data is encrypted.  Look for the “https” when communicating with any website with which you are sending personal information, particularly financial information such as a credit card.  You should avoid using Public WiFi for anything of a confidential nature since you cannot be sure if you are using the real Public WiFi or one that is set up by a hacker sitting close by who is capturing all of your data.  In addition, even if you are using the real Public WiFi, that system is easily hacked so, unless your communications are encrypted, you are in danger of identity theft.