The white-hat hacker Laxman Muthiyah has discovered a critical vulnerability that could have been exploited to hack Instagram accounts.
The process affected Instagram’s password recovery process for mobile devices that leverages on a six-digit code sent to the users’ phone to change the password.
The photo and video-sharing social networking service implemented a mechanism that prevents brute-force attacks aimed at obtaining this code.
“As you can see in my previous post,
POST /api/v1/accounts/account_recovery_code_verify/ HTTP/1.1 User-Agent: Instagram 22.214.171.124.114 Android (27/8.1.0; 440dpi; 1080×2150; Xiaomi/
xiaomi; Redmi Note 6 Pro; tulip; qcom; en_IN; 152830654) Accept-Language: en-IN, en-US Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=UTF-8 Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate Host: i.instagram.com Connection: keep-alive reecover_code=123456&device_id=device-id
“Device ID is
The expert explained that are one million combinations for a 6 digit pass code (000001 to 999999). It is possible to increase the probability of hacking Instagram accounts by requesting reset codes of multiple users.
“For example, if you request pass code of 100 thousand users using the same device ID, you can have a 10 percent success rate since 100k codes are issued to the same device ID.” continues the expert. “If we request pass codes for 1 million users, we would be able to hack all the one million accounts easily by incrementing the pass code one by one.”
Considering that the
Facebook awarded Muthiyah $10,000 for his findings.
Does the surname Muthiyah sound familiar?
In July, Muthiyah reported another flaw to Instagram that would have allowed attackers to take over any account.
The expert discovered that the rate limiting can be bypassed by carrying out a brute force attack from different IP addresses and leveraging race condition, sending concurrent requests.
The hacker also published a video
Laxman Muthiyah received by Facebook a $30,000 reward as part of its bug bounty program.
In the past, Muthiyah also received other rewards from Facebook for flaws that could have been exploited to delete videos and delete a user’s