Popular Instagram-Related App Scammed 100,000+ Users Out of Their Passwords


A popular iOS and Android app that promised to generate torrents of Instagram likes and followers for its users also swiped thousands of passwords for the service, and is now being called a massive scam.

InstLike promised to dramatically boost likes and followers for anyone’s Instagram feed, in return for cash. Each day users got 20 virtual coins (1 coin per like, 10 coins per follower) after which they could buy more coins at a going rate of $1 per 100 coins. The more you spent, the more genuine likes and followers you could get. Sounds like a good deal right? Well, not really.


The app worked like a pyramid scheme. Users had to divulge their Instagram password to sign up; those passwords then allowed InstLike, despite its promise that they “don’t steal your account,” to generate activity at will. Users discovered that not only were their photos racking up more likes, they were liking a lot more stuff, mostly images they had never seen.

Even after leaving InstLike, users still reported ‘liking’ photos they had never seen. Since the app still had your password, it could continue liking photos and following accounts for you remotely.

InstLike was one of the top-grossing apps in both iTunes and Google Play for a while last month, racking up at least 100,000 and maybe as many as 500,000 downloads before it was removed from the stores recently.


Automated content violates Instagram’s terms of service, and security firm Symantec — the company that discovered how InstLike worked and reported it to both Apple and Google — is now suggesting that anyone who downloaded InstLike should remove the app immediately and change their Instagram password.

“If you’re willingly giving out your login credentials for you social media accounts, that’s bad security policy,” Satnam Narang, a security researcher at Symantec, told Mashable. “It’s just very interesting to see what length people will go to in order to get Likes in their photos.”

(via Mashable)

Image credit: Instagram. by Tribute/ Homenaje Keep Calm Like by Bronze Athlete

  • agour

    serves them right for trying to buy popularity

  • TSY87

    people are that desperate for likes?! sad….

  • bob cooley

    This is news? Services advertising free likes and followers are unscrupulous? Say it isn’t so!

  • kondex

    now all like-whores got what they deserved

  • David Liang

    Anyone know if the developers of the app are in violation of any laws? Just curious if this thing can lead to prosecution, because if it can’t it might lead to copy cats.

  • BDWT

    Hah. Just post a photo of a cat! It’s a guaranteed 20+ likes!

  • Abdulrahman

    Instagram disabled my account for unknown reason. I try to contact them but they don’t replay. I guarantee I’ve not done anything wrong to their terms. I was so surprising , no warning. They looks like they don’t care of your account. They already have many users and they are popular. They don’t even let me have my account back which is connected to my email. Since then I feel disappointed: (. Pinterest and Tumblr are more respected than Instagram.

  • Alan Dove

    Once again, life imitates xkcd.

  • Jen Harris

    Once upon a time I got over 3,000 likes on a pic I took of my cat. Didn’t pay any bills. What are likes good for? Am I even telling the truth about likes I once got? How could you know?

  • BDWT

    Well, depending what you do or why you use a medium like Instagram, “likes” can be good for a lot of things; exposure mainly. If you’re trying to sell yourself or a business you own/run then “likes” are the modern social media equivalent of door-to-door flyers or other forms of guerilla marketing. A “like” will surely not pay your bills, either does handing out a flyer or business card. However, the end result of gaining a “like” or handing out a flyer can be a potential client who may chose to hire you and then, yes, ultimately you can pay your bills. (-And before anyone chimes in, no, I’m not solely saying posting photos of your cat will eventually pay off! That is, unless of course you happen to be a specialized pet photographer and there’s a need for it in your local community, then maybe it would pay off!)

  • Sia Ming Choung 谢明将

    you are so right, i join instagram for a contest. but so far, it has disabled my account so many times. without even slight warning. INSTAGRAM is really terrible.

  • Toronto Product Photographer

    So many web sites and aps want pass words these days… some are bound to screw you over… choose your passwords carefully. give junky passwords to less reputable companies when they need one