Privacy and security warning when using alternatives to Top Nine

How to ensure you're not compromising your Instagram account and photos when generating your Top Nine.

At Beta Labs, we take security and privacy seriously. We do this not only with Top Nine but with every single app we’ve launched so far, all of which amount to handling millions of users’ data.

We launched Top Nine in 2016, starting a huge trend that has grown exponentially every year. Every December, millions of Instagram users, influencers and celebrities use the Top Nine app to find and share their best nine Instagram moments of the year.

Top Nine’s viral growth has caused dozens of clones to surface on the App Store. Millions of users download the Top Nine app every year, but some unknowingly download fakes thinking it’s our app. And it’s easy to think that any of the fake apps will work exactly the same, as long as they solve the problem of generating a collage with the best nine Instagram photos of 2019.

But this article is not about the difference between Top Nine and every other clone out there in the App Store. If you want to learn more about the difference between using Top Nine, Best Nine, or any other non-authentic clone you can follow this link. This article is about the fact that some of those clones may be compromising user privacy, and maybe even the security of your Instagram account.

The goal of this article

The main goal is to make people more aware of the security issues that many of the Top Nine clones have, potentially exposing Instagram account credentials for millions of users who use these clones every year. If Top Nine is used by millions of users, we’re sure that these clones will have a similar amount.

While it’s clear that we don’t want people to use fake clones, what really drives us to write this post is making the App Store a more secure place for everyone. We will take legal actions regarding their intellectual property infringement, but these actions require more time than what’s left before NYE.

We want to believe these developers are not exposing your Instagram account voluntarily. While we don’t expect them to take down their clones because of this post, we hope at the very least they make their apps more secure without risking users’ security and privacy. We also expect that by the time you read this, they’ve already made the required fixes we mention below. Hopefully, this article helps change the current state of things.

As creators of the Top Nine trend, we’d rather you used our Top Nine app. However, we wrote this post with the main goal of telling people how to know if a Top Nine or Best Nine app is safe to use, be it our own app or one of its many fake clones.

If you’re about to use a Top Nine app to find your best nine Instagram photos of 2019, this is what you should make sure to pay attention to:

If your Instagram account is private, make sure you’re securely signing in to Instagram.com

Some of the apps don’t let you see whether you’re signing in to https://instagram.com or some other fake page that looks exactly like Instagram’s login page. This is called a phishing attack.

To ensure you’re signing in securely, make sure you look at the web browser’s address bar. If you can’t see the address bar, then it’s better not to risk it using this app.

If your Instagram account is public, you shouldn’t need to sign in to your account

If you chose to make Instagram account public, then that means that your Instagram posts will be available for anyone on the web to see, including our app. If this is the case, you shouldn’t be prompted to sign in to your Instagram account and risk yourself to any phishing attack.

We made it super easy to generate your Top Nine Instagram collage. After you enter your Instagram handle on the box signaled above, our app will fetch your posts and generate a collage with your photos. As a reminder, you can use the Top Nine app entering only your Instagram account.

Asking for permission to access your photos when it’s not necessary

Privacy is super important to our users, and unlike other apps, we think you shouldn’t need to give us access to your photos to find and generate your Top Nine collage.

We believe apps shouldn’t ask for photo access unless is absolutely necessary, which is why when you use Top Nine, you will only need to give us access to your Photo Library if you wish to edit your Top Nine grid, choosing a different photo from your best nine photos of the year.

How do I know I’m using your Top Nine and not a clone?

Many people search for us on the App Store, but with so many look-alikes it can be difficult to recognize us among the clones. If you want to make sure you’re using the original Top Nine service, you can download the app from any of our 2 websites versions: TopNine.app and TopNine.co (not .com!).

Have more questions about privacy or security?

Please email us all your questions and concerns to privacy@topnine.co (not .com!)