Hacking your Instagram account can certainly be a scary situation, especially if your income depends on it to make sales and generate leads.
So what can you do to protect your Instagram account from hacker attacks?
Well the best defense is a strong offense! We offer four ways to keep your account safe – and what to do if your Instagram account is hacked.
How to protect your Instagram account from hackers
- Choose a strong password
- Activate two-factor authentication
- Make sure your email account is secure
- Revoke access to suspicious third-party apps
Step 1: Choose a strong password
The more users create Instagram accounts, the more hacking and phishing attempts there are.
And the culprit number one? A weak password.
According to Victor Gevers, a security researcher with the GDI Foundation, you should use automatically generated passwords and a password manager for further protection.
“You don’t want to be bothered to remind yourself,” explains Gevers. “There are password managers that allow you to access your passwords on a desktop computer, mobile phone, and even when you are not connected to the Internet.”
It’s also a good idea to have a unique password for each of your accounts as this makes it difficult for hackers to access all of your information.
When you’ve found a potential password, plug it in for final verification. How secure is my password? Learn if your password is strong enough to withstand hacking attempts.
TIP: Always check the legality of the emails you receive (name of the sender, email address, URL they refer to) and never give your password to anyone you do not know or whom you do not know to protect against potential phishing attacks.
Step 2: Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication offers an additional layer of protection against hackers.
How does it work? It’s a multi-step process that requires users to verify their identity through a security code. That way, when you log into Instagram from an unrecognized device, you will be asked to enter the code and confirm that it is you.
To enable two-factor authentication in Instagram, go to your settings and tap on “Two-factor authentication”.
Tap on “Get started” and you have two options to choose from: “Authentication app (recommended)” and “Text message”.
Option 1: authentication app
The Authentication App (Recommended) option is a third-party authentication app.
If you already have an authentication app installed, Instagram will automatically find the app and send a code to it. You need to get the code, enter it on Instagram and two-factor authentication will be activated.
If you don’t have an authentication app, Instagram recommends one that you can download before completing the process.
Option 2: text message
If your account doesn’t have a verified phone number, you’ll be asked to enter one. After you have entered your phone number, tap the “Next” button.
Now when you log into your Instagram account from an unknown device, you will be asked to enter a security code which you will receive via SMS.
TIP: Watch out for suspicious Instagram DMs and never share your personal information. Instagram recently shared a warning on the @creators account about an increase in Instagram phishing attempts.
Step 3: Make sure your email account is safe
Just think of your Instagram account – and many others! – is linked to your email account. If someone has access to one, they have access to all. Creepy stuff.
In a recent survey, 22% of internet users said their online accounts had been hacked at least once, while 14% said they had been hacked more than once.
With this in mind, it is a good idea to secure your email with two-factor authentication or email encryption. These simple deterrents can go a long way in keeping your Instagram account safe from the hands of hackers.
Step 4: Revoke Access to Suspicious Third Party Apps
It is common to use Instagram as an authorized account to log into third-party apps like dating services, games, and photo editing tools.
But did you know that even if you haven’t used these third-party apps in weeks, months, or even years, they may have access to your social media profile and account information?
And when your database is targeted, your data is up for grabs. For this reason, Instagram recommends “thinking before authorizing a third-party app”.
To manage your third-party apps, open your Instagram profile on your desktop computer, click the Settings button, then click Apps and Website.
Here is a list of the apps you have access to. If you spot any suspicious apps, you can just hit the Revoke Access or View and Edit button.
How to Recover Hacked Instagram Account
If you suspect that your Instagram account has been hacked or compromised, it is important to take action ASAP. To regain access to your account, do the following:
- Check your email account for a message from Instagram
- Request a login link from Instagram
- Request a security code or support from Instagram
Step 1: Check your email account for a message from Instagram
If you’ve received an email from Instagram – also known as [email protected] – informing you that your email address has been changed, you may be able to undo it by using the Use the “Undo this change” option in this message.
Step 2: Request a login link from Instagram
If additional information has also been changed (such as your password), you should request a login link from Instagram. That’s how it’s done:
On the login screen, tap Forgot Password (for iOS) or Get Help Signing In (for Android).
You become the “Problem logging in?” Forwarded. (iOS) or “Login Help” (Android) page.
Then tap on “Send login link” (iOS) or “Next” (Android) and follow the instructions on the screen.
Enter a secure email address that only you can access. When you’ve submitted your request, look for an email from Instagram with the next steps.
Step 3: Request a security code or support from Instagram
If you cannot recover your Instagram account by following the steps above, you can report a hacked Instagram account.
Tap the Help Us Restore Your Account screen. Instead of requesting the security code, this time choose “I can’t access this email or phone number.”
On the next page, fill out the form with your account information, select “My account has been hacked” and click “Get Support”.
Once you’ve submitted your request, you should receive an auto-reply email from Instagram’s security team asking you to verify your identity. You will be asked for one or both of the following:
- Provided you have a photo of you holding a paper with a handwritten code from Instagram.
- The email address or phone number you signed up with and the type of device you were using at the time you signed up (example: iPhone, Android, iPad, etc.).
For brands and developers on Instagram, keeping your account secure has never been more important.
And while there isn’t a 100% guaranteed way to keep your account from being hacked, you can make it much more difficult for hackers by following these simple steps.
Stay up to date with the latest Instagram trends and security updates. Log in to Later weekly email newsletter today!
Amanda is a content marketer at Later in Toronto. When she’s not busy writing, you can catch her playing tennis or sipping pop culture tea. Say hello on Instagram – @amandademeku