New phishing attack steals your Instagram backup codes to bypass 2FA

Subject : New phishing attack steals your Instagram backup codes to bypass 2FA

Date : 2023-12-20


  Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security system that requires two distinct forms of identification in order to access something.

  Two-factor authentication can be used to strengthen the security of an online account, a smartphone, or even a door. 2FA does this by requiring two types of information from the user—a password or personal identification number (PIN), a code sent to the user's smartphone (called a message authentication code), or a fingerprint—before whatever is being secured can be accessed.

Figure 1 : Two-factor authentication (2FA)


   Cybersecurity solutions giant Trustwave pointed out that a new phishing campaign uses emails posing as Instagram’s parent company, Meta, claiming the recipient’s account is “infringing copyrights.” The attacker also creates a sense of urgency with a message that notes an appeal must be submitted within 12 hours or else the account will be permanently deleted.

   Here’s how it works…

Figure 2 : Portal page of Meta

 Clicking the “Go to appeal form” link redirects the user to an initial phishing site that impersonates Meta’s actual portal for violation appeals. It’s hosted on Bio Sites, Squarespace’s quick-setup landing page platform. This, in combination with a Google notifications link, is presumably to help avoid detection from inbox spam tools and track link clicks.

Figure 3 : Meta fake website

If a user proceeds by clicking the “Go to Confirmation Form (Confirm My Account),” it will redirect to another bogus Meta site, this time to collect account details. The first pieces of information requested from the user are the username and password (twice for whatever reason). After providing login credentials, the user is asked if the account has 2FA enabled.

  Clicking the “YES” button asks for one of the user’s five generated Instagram backup codes. While it’s already possible to seize the account, the last screen prompts for the user’s email address and phone number.

Figure 4 : Malicious websites trick users into entering personal information.

Email continues to be the most common vector for cybercrime and phishing attacks. It’s essential to stay educated on ways to help you identify and avoid malicious emails.

  The most suspicious elements here were the sender’s email (“contact-helpchannelcopyrights[.]com”), which isn’t affiliated with Meta, as well as the Google notifications URL in the appeal form button.


1.If you still have access to your 2FA codes/keys, there's never a reason to enter your backup codes anywhere other than within the Instagram website or app.

2.If you believe you’ve been compromised, immediately change your password and regenerate new backup codes. This can be done on Instagram by going to Settings and privacy > Accounts Center > Password and security > Two-factor authentication > [Your Instagram account] > Additional methods > Backup codes > Get new codes.


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