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Instagram investigating users' claims they've been hacked

Instagram logo on a phone in dark room.
Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Instagram users are being blocked from logging in, only to find later their accounts have been hacked and their credentials often newly linked with a Russian email ending in .ru.

What’s happening: Instagram is investigating the hacking claims following a spike in reports, but doesn’t know whether these are actually Russians hacking or whether it's just someone using a Russian email. Instagram is currently helping customers regain access to their accounts and working to roll out its own third-party app authentication.

Yes, but: But some accounts getting hacked already had two-factor authentication (2FA) in place, per The Sun, which is a security feature intended to add an extra step to block potential hackers

The key is, not every 2FA is made equal. Using SMS as the second step — like how Instagram's currently works — can be vulnerable. SMS 2FA is not as secure as using physical, hardware-based keys. Google hasn’t had any of its more than 85,000 employees phished on work-related accounts since implementing physical key use in early 2017, according to KrebsOnSecurity.

By the numbers: Kaspersky Lab products prevented approximately 68,000 attempts to visit phishing pages imitating Instagram this year. And in July, Kaspersky "witnessed a spike in this attack vector — on July 31, the number of phishing attacks skyrocketed from around 150 per day to almost 600," per Kaspersky.