Free Guide

How to Protect Your Instagram Account from Getting Hacked

social media Jul 24, 2021
An iPhone displaying the security menu in the Instagram app

Getting your Instagram account hacked can be a heartbreaking experience, especially if you’re someone who works hard to build your personal brand and business online.

It’s easy to spend hours each week focusing solely on creating engaging content and entertaining your audience. So much so that taking steps to ensure your account’s security settings are up to date can easily drop off the radar.

If security settings have yet to cross your mind, address them now in order to protect the hard work you’ve put into building up your social media presence.

The following steps can help increase your Instagram account security and decrease the probability of getting hacked:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the security settings menu
  2. Pick a strong password
  3. Set up two-factor authentication
  4. Remove access from unnecessary third-party apps
  5. Use ‘Emails from Instagram’ to verify communications 

 

Familiarize Yourself with the Security Settings Menu

Much like locating the emergency exits on a plane prior to takeoff, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the security section of the Instagram app, before you ever need to use it. Dig into the options within the security menu, so that you know what to do and where to go in case of a future hack or phishing attempt.

The security menu is only three clicks away, and is accessed by going to Main Menu > Settings > Security. From here, you’ll find the Login Security and Data History information referenced in the next steps.

 

 

 

Pick a Strong Password

After you familiarize yourself with the security settings, the first layer of protection is choosing a strong password for your Instagram account. With a zillion passwords to remember, it can be tempting to choose something easy, or to use the same password for several of your online logins, but this only makes your account vulnerable.

According to Security.org, in order to choose a strong password, make sure that it is unique to your Instagram account, and follows these additional best practices:

  • A password should be 16 characters or more in length
  • A password should include a combination of letters, numbers, and characters
  • A password shouldn’t include any personal information like address or phone number
  • A password shouldn’t contain any consecutive letters or numbers
  • A password shouldn’t be the word “password” or the same letter or number repeated

After you’ve chosen a password, you can run it through their password security checker to confirm its strength.

To reset your Instagram password, navigate to Main Menu > Settings > Security > Password

 

Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Once you’ve chosen a strong password, add an additional layer of security with Two-Factor Authentication. Enabling this feature is recommended by Instagram, and will provide additional login credential prompts when unusual login attempts are detected on your account.

There are two ways to set up this feature, either through adding a mobile phone number, or through setting up an authenticator app. The phone number option can present challenges if you change your phone number, so it’s better to use the app option, which Instagram recommends.

To enable Two-Factor Authentication, navigate to Main Menu > Settings > Security > Two-Factor Authentication and follow the prompts from there.

  

Remove Access from Unnecessary Third-Party Apps

Chances are good that you’ve connected apps and websites to your Instagram account at some point whether it’s a scheduling tool like Later, or another social media app like TikTok. Creating a sync between Instagram and other apps in and of itself isn’t an issue. However, you should be mindful and selective about which apps you authorize to access your Instagram, since this sync allows data share between apps. Audit your connections, and remove any third-party apps that look suspicious, or that you no longer wish to have access to your Instagram.

In order to view and manage the third-party apps that have access to your account, navigate to Main Menu > Settings > Security > Apps and Websites. From here you can view which sites have access to your account, and remove access.   

 

Use the ‘Emails From Instagram’ Feature to Verify Communications

After you’ve taken the steps to protect your Instagram account from getting hacked by setting a strong password, enabling two-factor authentication, and auditing and removing unnecessary third-party app access, your chances of an account compromise are significantly lower.

That said, it’s still possible on occasion to receive emails regarding password resets when a hacker is trying to access your account, and fake emails from hackers acting as Instagram in order to capture your data.

In order to protect yourself from email phishing attempts, avoid clicking on emails from Instagram regarding your account until you’ve verified Instagram as the sender. This means that the email sender domain must be Instagram.com. There is a handy feature inside the app where you can view a log of the emails Instagram has sent you to further verify the legitimacy of emails.

To access this information, navigate to Main Menu > Settings > Security > Emails From Instagram, and from here you can see records of the emails Instagram has sent regarding your account.

If you’ve enabled all of the Instagram security settings and are still receiving emails from Instagram regarding password resets that you haven’t triggered personally, revisit your other online accounts such as email and other social accounts, and ensure security on those as well.

 


 

Taking these steps to keep your Instagram account safe and secure is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting hacked. As entrepreneurs and creators around the world continue to invest and depend on social media platforms like Instagram to gain visibility and grow business, securing accounts from hackers has never been more important. Plus, it will help save you from the headaches and heartbreaks that come along with having to start over from zero with a new account. Take a few minutes right now to optimize your Instagram security settings – your future self will thank you.

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