Instagram is restricting developers after a malicious app siphoned user details

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Instagram is restricting its API (application programming interface) after InstaAgent, one of the most popular Instagram clients, was found to be stealing usernames and passwords.

An API is a set of programming instructions that allows developers to build on top of services. Tweetbot, for example, uses the Twitter api to create an app that can tweet or follow someone.

Several big companies, including Twitter, Netflix and Soundcloud have previously shut down or restricted access to their APIs for a variety of reasons.

But the Instagram API change is directly targeted at security concerns, as it requires all new apps go through a review before being given access to the full protocol. All existing apps will need to have their apps checked by 1 June, 2016.

If they fail they could be turned off completely.

“We will begin reviewing new and existing apps before granting full API access starting December 3, 2015” reads the Instagram official developers blog.

Specifically citing user concerns, Instagram will restrict developers from certain functions within the API until the apps have been reviewed.

“We’ve heard from the community that it can be unclear where their content is being shared and viewed, so today we are deprecating the /users/self/feed and /media/popular API endpoints for new apps. Existing apps will have until the end of the review period before access to the endpoints is terminated,” the company said on its blog.

“Our goal is to provide a focused set of terms and processes that give clarity to the use cases we will support going forward. While this may require changes from many of you, we believe these changes will help maintain control for the community and provide a clear roadmap for developers.”

For users who have downloaded InstaAgent, Instagram says delete it and change passwords.

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