A recent Instagram breach has turned out to be much worse than initially thought after private information of as many as 6 million users showed up in a searchable, pay-to-use database. That's according to the source which claims that is the number of hacked Instagram accounts that have reportedly turned up on a secondary website that users can access to see whether their private information is in any less-than-reputable database – whether or not they have been hacked. Unfortunately, the searchable database in question also costs as much as $10 to access and there aren't many limits on how a search can be performed, which compounds the problem since the data could end up in just about anybody's hands at random.
What perhaps makes this hack worse than others is that it wasn't just emails or readily changeable passwords that were ultimately stolen. That's down to how the breach was initiated. Namely, an older version of the Instagram application allowed for a password request to be sent that provided the information in question in response. The only piece of information not provided to the attackers, in this case, was a user's password. However, if the user had 2-factor authentication enabled, hackers were also able to obtain users' phone numbers. That's something that requires a lot more effort to change and which can have a huge impact on a person's life since mobile phone numbers in the modern age have become a kind of extension of who a person is. It could also allow for new exploits, making it easier to steal a user's identity through spoofing.
As to whether or not any individual user should be overly concerned about the breach, Instagram currently has a total user-base of around 700 million users. That means any given person using Instagram only has around a half of a percent chance that their information has been compromised. The company itself has also said that it has contacted any verified users who may have been affected. Beyond that, Instagram has also said that the bug is now fixed, though that will be small consolation to anybody whose life may be turned upside down by the leak.