Every couple of weeks, we hear about data breaches that start a hacking spree on Instagram, where thousands of accounts get hacked in a row. Imagine that you wake up one morning and notice something different or weird about your Instagram account. Or you find that you’ve been logged out of your account. Undoubtedly, you’ll be shocked and wonder how and why was your Instagram hacked. And you’ll definitely try to regain hold of your account.
If your Instagram account has been hacked, you’re not alone. Instagram hack is a serious issue, and it is becoming common. Every year, tens of thousands of users report hacked accounts. Let’s take a look at how hackers manage to take over your account and what you can do about it.
How do Instagram accounts get hacked?
Hackers use a bunch of different methods to get into your account. But mostly, it’s through “Phishing” links. Phishing involves a hacker sending you a malicious link in the email, through WhatsApp, or via text. Clicking on the link will take you to a webpage that looks the same as the official Instagram login page. In reality, it is a fake page created to steal your login information. You’ll enter your username and password, and it’ll just reveal it to the hacker on the other side of the webpage.
After hacking your account, they will use your account to target your followers. The hackers will forward the same phishing message with a malicious link to your followers, starting a hacking spree.
What you should do if your account was hacked?
If you find that your Instagram account has been hacked, the first thing you need to do is to report the account. Also, check your email because your account is connected to your email address, and you should have received an email message from Instagram if someone has tried to, or changed your password. Whenever a password is changed, there’s an option at the bottom that says, “revert this change.” This will “undo” the changes made, and you’ll be able to log back into your account.
If that doesn’t work, go back to the login page, tap on the ‘Forgot password’ option, and follow the screen instructions to reset your password. When you reset your password, you’ll be automatically logged out of all the other devices. This way, you’ll get your Instagram account back and will be sure that the hacker is gone for good.
Tip: Complete this step, even if you were able to get back in via reverting the change.
What should you do if hackers changed your email address?
Most of the time, as soon as the hacker gets into your account, they try to change the email address, so you can’t easily log back in. If this happens, watch out for an email from Instagram. When a new email is added to the account, it sends a prompt to both the new and old email addresses, ensuring you have access to both.
If you get this email and you’re not the one trying to change the email address, click the “revert this change” option, and it will send a request to Instagram to block the other email address’ access to your account. You’ll then receive another email from Instagram’s official email address “support.instagram.com,” which will acknowledge that you submitted your request for denying email address change. The email will contain a link that you can click to reverse any changes made instantly.
Suppose you don’t receive an email from Instagram. You can still send a request for a login link to Instagram by going to the official Instagram login page and screen tap “Get help signing in” or the “Forgot password” option located under the password text bar. It’ll ask you to choose where this help would be provided. You can confirm your email address or phone number to get support. You’ll see that your information is partially visible, you might have to enter the missing information to confirm that it is actually you. Depending on which option you click, Instagram will send you a code or a link to log back into your account.
Best ways to keep your Instagram safe from hacks
Here’re some tips to boost your Instagram account’s security:
- Turn on two-factor authentication: This is one of the best ways to keep your account safe from potential attacks. By turning on the two-factor authentication, you can make sure that only you have access to your accounts. Instagram will use your phone number to make sure it’s you trying to log in. Every time you log in or make any changes to your account, you’ll get an email or a message (or both) with a code. It works as a way to verify your identity because only you will have your phone to receive a code and be logging in at the same time. If it is not you, the code will serve as a prompt that someone tried to log in.
- Change your password regularly: Changing your Instagram password logs you out of all other devices until your log back in. This will kick out a hacker even if you don’t know you’ve been hacked. Some people also tend to use the same password across all platforms. With this, if one of your accounts gets hacked, all of the other ones with the same password can be logged into as well. Using a different, strong password and switching it every few weeks will keep you safe from any silent hackers. It is good to use a password manager to store your passwords if you have trouble remembering different passwords.
- Revoke access to any third-party apps that look suspicious: Using third-party apps comes with their own set of risks. Giving a third-party app access to your account means you’re exposing your account to possible security breaches and data theft. Some hackers will use a suspicious app to get access to your information, such as your username, email, and sometimes even passwords. They can then easily copy your passwords and use them to get into your account. Going through your “authorized apps” and revoking access to anything that doesn’t look legit can help keep your information safe.
- Make sure you know the correct support email addresses: A lot of people get phishing emails that appear exactly as if they came from Instagram. They can say things like “your account is being hacked please log in” or anything else that will prompt you to enter your information.
Often, these emails would come from an address like “[email protected],” which isn’t an official Instagram email. The only real email address that Instagram messages you through is [email protected] Only click on links that come from this email.
The internet is a place full of possibilities, but it also comes with many risks. Your data and social media account information are the most precious things on the internet. Protecting your accounts isn’t as difficult as you might think. By following these tips, you can make sure that your time online is as safe as it possibly can be.
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