A critical security vulnerability with the Instagram app lets attackers take over the victim’s Instagram account and can change their phone as a spying tool.
All the attackers need is a malicious image, once the image file opened in the Instagram app it would give the hacker full access to the Instagram account.
Instagram is one of the popular social media platforms globally which has early 1 billion monthly active users and 100+ million photos uploaded every day.
How Attacker Can Exploit the Vulnerability
Security researchers from Checkpoint found the vulnerability with the Instagram app 3rd party library Mozjpeg – an open-source project used by Instagram as its JPEG format image decoder for images uploaded to the service.
The vulnerability is critical it allows attackers to execute code and perform any action they wish n the Instagram app.
An attacker can exploit the vulnerability by sending a target victim via email, WhatsApp, or another media exchange platform.
Since the Instagram app has very extensive permissions, the vulnerability not only allows hackers to steal data and credentials from our phones, it also allows attackers to spy, tracking location, listening to conversations, accessing data and messages.
Once the victim opens the Instagram on their phone the exploitation occurs it allows attackers “full access to any resource in the phone that is pre-allowed by Instagram.”
“At a basic level, this exploit can be used to crash a user’s Instagram app, effectively denying them access to the app until they delete it from their device and re-install it, causing inconvenience and possible loss of data,” reads Check Point blog post.
The vulnerability was reported to Facebook and the described as “Integer Overflow” and released a patch for the vulnerability and it can be tracked as CVE-2020-1895.
“A large heap overflow could occur in Instagram for Android when attempting to upload an image with specially crafted dimensions. This affects versions before 18.104.22.168.128,” reads the Facebook advisory.
Users are recommended to update with the recent version of the Instagram app to thwart the vulnerability.