The Instagram and Spotify hacking ring
In December 2015 I received an email which seemed to be from a woman having ended up in a bad situation. She explained that "her Instagram had been hacked" and since she found my contact info in the app on her iPhone she mailed me and asked for help.
She also included a screenshot from her phone in the email, showing the curl license and my name in the "about" screen on the Instagram app. Somehow proving to me that I must have something to do with this.
I replied back to her in a timely fashion and explained that I have nothing to do with her being hacked (whatever it meant) and that I also have nothing to do with Instagram other than that they apparently use software I have written. I tried to explain how curl is Open Source and I just provide it free for anyone to use and that I do not know anyone at Instagram just because they use my code.
Before receiving that email, I had no idea Instagram used curl!
On January 19 2016, she writes again. This time she had apparently gotten "help" by a friend of hers and now she had more to say.
Dear Daniel,
I had emailed you a couple months ago about my “screen dumps” aka
screenshots and asked for your help with restoring my Instagram account
since it had been hacked, my photos changed, and your name was included
in the coding. You claimed to have no involvement whatsoever in
developing a third party app for Instagram and could not help me salvage
my original Instagram photos, pre-hacked, despite Instagram serving as
my Photography portfolio and my career is a Photographer.
It starts out good and it shows she understood what I had said before.
Since you weren’t aware that your name was attached to Instagram related
hacking code, I thought you might want to know, in case you weren’t
already aware, that your name is also included in Spotify terms and
conditions. I came across this information using my Spotify which has
also been hacked into and would love your help hacking out of
Spotify.
Okay, now it turned bad again. She included another screenshot from her phone, showing my name in the "about" screen on the Spotify app on her phone.
Also, I have yet to figure out how to unhack the hackers from
my Instagram so if you change your mind and want to restore my Instagram
to its original form as well as help me secure my account from future
privacy breaches, I’d be extremely grateful. As you know, changing my
passwords did nothing to resolve the problem. Please keep in mind that
Facebook owns Instagram and these are big companies that you likely
don’t want to have a trail of evidence that you are a part of an
Instagram and Spotify hacking ring.
Clearly those two screenshots were all the evidence we needed to prove me being in this "hacking ring" and she no longer believed that I was just an innocent producer of a software component.
She then ends the mail with this golden paragraph that is hard to decipher
Also, Spotify is a major partner of Spotify so you are likely familiar
with the coding for all of these illegally developed third party apps.
I’d be grateful for your help fixing this error immediately.
Thank you,
[name redacted]
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