How to protect your Instagram account from hackers

How to protect your Instagram

I knew that Instagram hacking was a thing. For example, I’d noticed that accounts sometimes get duplicated by creepy people (or bots working for creepy people, who knows?). Maybe I was aware that hackers find it fun to post unauthorised cheeky content to your feed. What fun. But I didn’t appreciate how easy it is to lose your entire account this way. I suppose it’s obvious really; if someone can access your social media account they can do whatever they like with it. And that’s what has happened to my Instagram friend, the blogger Ashley Cramp. A hacker accessed and deleted her Instagram. Her whole feed of photographs dating back to 2013, and all of her 15.8 thousand followers. Gone.

Now I know that it is only Instagram, but anyone who has tried to build an online following will know that it represents such a lot of hard work. Even if your Instagram is all play and no work, I think we can appreciate how upsetting it would be for it to disappear overnight. 

For Ashley, it started during the downtime between Christmas and New Year, when a strange picture of two men was posted to her account @lazydaisyjones. Realising that it had been hacked, she disabled the account and contacted Instagram (they responded, with advice). But before the issue could be resolved, whoever had hacked into @lazydaisyjones deleted the whole lot. Read more about it in a blog post by Not Dressed As Lamb. 

I’m not sure whether I would have the energy to start over from scratch but Ashley has dusted herself down and opened a new account.
 

There are several ways that you can help to secure your account against this happening. 

Passwords

I’m really guilty of not taking password security seriously enough and having multiple accounts and apps that all use the same one. The advice is to pick a strong Instagram password, which means using a combination of at least six numbers, letters, and punctuation marks.

We should also try to remember to change it regularly, here’s how to switch it up.

Watch your apps

How many of us keep track of all the apps we have downloaded and granted access to our Instagram? I’m betting not many. Granting third-party apps access to our accounts leaves us exposed to hackers. Instagram particularly recommends that we delete access to apps that fall outside of their community guidelines.

Ashley says “my account was an old one started in 2013 and had a lot of app access and authorisation that I hadn’t updated. I have now also unlinked from FB and twitter as a further precaution”.

Switch on two-factor authentication

By activating two-factor authentication, your Instagram account can no longer be accessed with just a password. To log-in, you will also need a unique, time-sensitive code, which you receive via text message. 

4 steps to secure your Instagram account:

1. Go to Settings

2. Click Privacy and Security

3. Then Two-Factor Authentication

4. Finally, switch on Two-Factor Authentication and it will not be possible to log into your Instagram account without a code that is texted to your phone.

What's your View?

12 comments on “How to protect your Instagram

  1. lazy Daisy Jones on

    Hi Helen,
    Thank you for highlighting the security problems! If one person takes note and secures their account, then at least that is a positive. I am so glad that I still have my blog, as this situation has also highlighted not to put all your eggs in one basket!
    best wishes
    Ashley xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hey Ashley, thank you for letting me feature your thoughts about what happened. And yes, the Instagram basket is not secure! A timely reminder that we don’t own or control the platform, it’s a great tool, but only alongside other things. To the next chapter, Helen x

      Reply
  2. Sally Hart on

    Finally got round to reading this – really useful. I LOVE the way you manage to let us know what to do without sounding preachy and condescending! Good luck for the event on Friday. I will make it to one, one day I am sure (or determined!) xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hello Sally, thank you for stopping by for a quick read, I’m glad that you don’t find my posts preachy!!! Hahaha. Appreciate your well wishes too, I’m looking forward to it (and to meeting you one day), Hxx

      Reply
  3. Susan on

    Hi lovely,

    Two-Factor Authentication all set up! Thanks for the heads up. As you say, it takes so much work to grow your following and it would be terrible to lose all the photos too.

    Sus xx

    Reply
  4. Helen on

    Hi Helen, new to your account and blog and loving it! Thanks for this advice… off to change passwords and add the second layer of security… Helen x

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hi Helen, I’m so pleased to hear it. Wouldn’t it be just awful to lose it all? Thanks for your kinds words, so glad you’re enjoying natk xxx

      Reply
  5. Juliana on

    This is a very timely reminder Helen. An account that I have followed pretty much since I joined the world of IG – @chloelovestoshop – was hacked over the weekend and the owner of the account is obviously devastated, but also feels violated. It’s such an invasion of privacy which is even more unsettling than the loss of follower numbers. Great tips for us all and two-factor authentication is the way to go I think!

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Yes, I heard about that too. It must be so distressing. I hope that Instagram is also taking steps to secure our accounts and make it harder to hack them. Otherwise, we will have to find somewhere else to post our pictures!

      Reply

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