Security & Fraud

Instagram Invites Security Experts To Hack Its Checkout Feature

Instagram is inviting a group of security researchers known as white hat hackers to stress-test its Checkout feature before it launches outside the United States.

Launched in March, the checkout feature enables consumers to purchase desired items while looking at “beauty tutorials,” images of shoes and fashion or other interest areas, with less hassle than would have been the case prior to the launch of the eCommerce tool. Checkout by Instagram includes participation by PayPal and its retail partnership program.

“Instagram is a place for people to treat themselves with inspiration, not a place to tax themselves with errands. It’s a place to experience the pleasure of shopping versus the chore of buying,” the company said at the time.

While Instagram has assured users that Checkout payments are secure, adding that it never shares payment information with sellers and keeps financial information on secured servers. However, it is still asking for researchers to search for any vulnerabilities before cybercriminals can find them and use them to their advantage.

According to CNN Business, the researchers will get early access to the global feature and earn rewards for eligible reports. The rewards can go up to $40,000 per case.

Instagram's parent company Facebook launched its bug bounty program in 2011. The social media giant previously gave a select group of researchers early access to FB5, which is the site's redesigned look that it unveiled earlier this year. And last year, it created another program focused on data abuse following the Cambridge Analytica data abuse scandal.

For Instagram, the launch of its Checkout feature represents its latest move to become more of a player in eCommerce. Also in March, the platform rolled out a trial of a new shopping program where users can shop and check out within the app.

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The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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