Users of the photo-sharing smartphone app Instagram reported being hit with a barrage of posts featuring images of strange fruit and touting their "miracle" health benefits on Saturday (June 29).
The posts, which came from compromised accounts, were actually part of a spam campaign.
The attack, first reported by tech blog GigaOM, took over legitimate Instagram accounts to inundate followers with marketing messages and images of eccentric fruits. The spammers also changed the link in users' profiles to a bit.ly shortened URL that led to a bogus BBC News page.
It's still not clear how, exactly, the accounts were compromised or who, in particular, was behind the attack. GigaOM noted that the bit.ly link was created on June 23 and had racked up more than 32,000 clicks by Saturday.
Soon after the first wave of fruit hijacks was reported, Instagram confirmed the problem. The company said it was working on resetting passwords on the compromised accounts and deleting unauthorized images.
"Earlier today, a small portion of our users experienced a spam incident where unwanted photos were posted from their accounts," Instagram said in a prepared statement to journalists who inquired. "Our security and spam team quickly took actions to secure the accounts involved, and the posted photos are being deleted."
For the most part, affected Instagrammers took the security breach in stride, taking to Twitter to alleviate the situation with irony and humor.
"It's sad and funny that my sister knew my Instagram was hacked because I posted a pic of fruit and the caption was about my healthy diet," tweeted makeup artist Amy Chance, as linked to from The Next Web.
"No, I'm not advocating for an all-fruit diet," tech investor Chris Dixon tweeted. "My Instagram was hacked."