Instagram has disabled hundreds of accounts that have been stolen as part of online hacking operations designed to access and sell rare and coveted usernames.
Both TikTok and Twitter have also taken action on some of the accounts belonging to the same hackers, according to the report of journalist and cybersecurity expert (Brian Krebs).
The Facebook-owned platform focuses its sights on the community surrounding the OGUsers website, which is known for trading in stolen usernames and helps facilitate the penetration of these accounts through methods, such as switching the SIM card.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “Today, we remove hundreds of accounts linked to members of the OGUsers forum who harass, blackmail and harm the Instagram community, and we continue to do everything we can to make it difficult for them to take advantage of Instagram usernames.
The disclosure is notable because it is the first time that the platform has shared public information regarding supervision against username hackers.
Earlier this week, Instagram released a new feature that allows people to recover deleted posts, in case a hacker takes control of their account and deletes it.
Krebs reported that the campaign was a joint effort, as Twitter and TikTok also took action against popular members of the OGUsers community at the same time via these companies’ platforms.
As part of our ongoing work to find and stop dishonorable behavior, we recently recovered a number of TikTok usernames, and continue to focus on countering the ever-evolving tactics of bad actors, TikTok said.
In addition to disabling accounts that were stolen and rendering them worthless, social platforms have also disabled some accounts of well-known OGUsers who act as intermediaries during username transfer transactions.
OGUsers made headlines last summer when a small group of hackers linked to the site allegedly participated in an unprecedented hack against Twitter.
The Twitter hack involved resetting passwords across the accounts of dozens of high-profile individuals and companies, and using access to run the Bitcoin scam.
Rare usernames tend to be single words, letters or numbers in rare cases, and can fetch tens of thousands of dollars in the underground markets for stolen digital goods.
Because platforms like Instagram and Twitter have rules prohibiting buying and selling accounts, hackers interested in purchasing one of these coveted names often resort to illegal means to obtain it.