Back in September 2017, six million Instagram accounts were exposed online, revealing private phone numbers and email addresses. The scale of the hack was tremendous, with celebrities even the likes of Selena Gomez impacted. In addition to leaking hundreds of A-list personal profiles - and the personal profiles of the other 6 million accounts - an online database was created where criminals could search for private user details.
The fallout was tremendous, with experts advising users to update passwords and protect personal information for accounts on their website.
And again, a hacking attempt happened; on August 13 2018, Mashable detailed how another hundreds of Instagram accounts had been hacked.
Yet, Instagram continues to grow year over year, with 1 billion users on the platform. The growth is tremendous and although this kind of security breach happens far and few between, people are of course wondering how they can protect themselves from being hacked.
So, if you’re concerned about how to protect your own Instagram account, we’ve put together the tips you need to implement now.
Here’s how to protect your Instagram account from being hacked
1. Select a strong password
Instead of choosing your mom’s name, boyfriend’s name, year of birth, it’s important to select a strong password.
Add symbols and number into your Instagram password. Choose something that you will need to write down in order to remember. Better yet, add a punctuation mark where a hacker would least expect it!
2. That goes for your email address, too
Your email address is associated with your Instagram account. If your email password is not secure, though your Instagram password is, your email account could be jeopardized.
This email address is a gateway to your account, so be sure that you’ve implemented the tip about to your own email.
3. Check your third party apps
There are many third party apps for Instagram, especially those that were created before before Instagram opened their API to allow for legitimate applications to publish and schedule posts.
To manage your third party apps, or to check these apps, open your Instagram profile, click settings and ‘Authorized Apps’.
Note: you will need to do this on your desktop
If you see something on this list that doesn’t look right, it probably is cause for question. It is important to un-authorize anything that looks suspicious. You can do so by clicking “revoke access”.
4. Consider using two factor authentication
Two factor authentication is used for so many accounts and applications, such as corporate email addresses, and can very well be used for your Instagram account.
With two factor authentication, when you log-in to Instagram from a device that has not been used before, or that is unknown, you will be asked to enter a SMS code that is sent to the phone number associated with your account. This helps ensure that your account is not used by anyone else.
When you have two factor authentication on your phone and email address, this helps ensure security.
5. Sign out of Instagram when you are on a public computer
Let’s say you check Instagram when you’re at a hotel, or perhaps a friend’s house. That’s the beauty of Instagram for desktop, isn’t it? You can check it anywhere!
When leaving these computers, be sure to sign out and not click the “remember me” box. Clicking this box could inadvertently save your password, without you even knowing.
6. Do not click on links you don’t know
Hackers are sending emails more and more to accounts, trying to get them to click on links that take them to a fake Instagram login page. This page requests that you sign in to your account with you real password.
Unbenounced to you, the fake website will steal your password and have access to the credentials you worked so hard to protect.
It’s important to not click on links you don’t know. This goes for any and all emails. If you don’t recognize the sender, or if you don’t understand the body of the email, do not click on links.
Be sure to look at the sender first and foremost to determine if the email address is known and recognizable. If not, delete it and mark as spam.
Protecting your Instagram account doesn’t need to be challenging, though you do need to be smart. Select a password that is difficult to remember (and write it down, don’t save anywhere else online!), check all third party apps and be sure to not click on links you do not recognize.
Protecting your Instagram account is like protecting your personal information. The less you share through password protection, the better.