What to do when your Instagram gets hacked?

Getting hacked is a pretty common problem online. It has happened to the best of us at one time or another, and the first reaction is often a mini panic attack.

How to avoid a hacking incident?

Getting hacked is a pretty common problem online. It has happened to the best of us at one time or another, and the first reaction is often a mini panic attack. If that is your reaction, the first thing to do is to calm down, stop hyperventilating, and breathe deeply. This issue will be resolved, and after that, you will be the wiser for it. 

It may be that you never get into blind panic about anything since you are the calm, cool and collected type - if you are that person, we envy you. Whatever your initial reaction is, once you find that the account you spent ages building a following around has been hacked, you would want to try to recover it in any way possible. 

Try the following steps to recover your account with all its followers intact and learn how to get help from Instagram’s security team in recovering your account. 

What to do if you suspect a hacking incident?

The first scenario is that someone else is leaving comments or following strangers from your account.

Firstly, check to see if you can still access your account. If you can open your account, the next thing to do is change the password or send yourself an email with the password reset option.

Revoke any access you may have granted to third-party apps that may appear suspicious and could be misusing your account. You can do this by going to Settings and then clicking on Authorized Apps. Third-party apps that do not conform to the community guidelines or terms of use set by Instagram may use your account in a malicious way or for their own personal gains. These apps may be offering many likes or followers and could be associated with scams or unsavory practices. 

What to do if your password has been changed?

This can also happen that your password might get changed. If so, you can try a new feature. This feature was implemented in 2019, so it may not be available to all users. If you believe someone has opened your account and changed your password. You can try recovering your account using the following steps:

  • Click on my Login info isn’t working.
  • This will result in a page opening that asks for the email or phone number associated with your account.
  • A six-digit code will be sent to your email or your phone that will allow you to access your account. Enter this code into the box provided and open your Instagram.
  • Then the first thing you would have to do after opening your account is to change your password. Choose a strong password with a combination of letters, numbers, and words that is not easy to guess.  

This feature is a bit of a lifesaver. Not only for those who get hacked but also for those of us who may have forgotten their password. 

What to do if your email address and password both have been changed

If someone changes your email address, you will be informed on the old address by Instagram. You can undo this action by clicking on revert this change option in the email. However, if they have changed your password too, you have to go about reporting your problem to Instagram. 

To do this start by clicking on the Forgot Password option on iOS and the Get Help Signing option on Android, which is located on the Log In page. After that, click on the Need More Help button. Follow the instruction from there choosing the problems that fit your situation. When the system asks for an email address, remember to give an email address that is properly secured.

When the security team gets back to you, they will require proof that the Instagram account belonged to you. The verification process may involve you letting the security team know the email address, password, and device from which you accessed your account.

You may also be provided with a particular code and requested to write down the code on paper and submit a photo of yourself holding the writing. The security team will give you instructions on how to re-access your account after verifying your ownership of the account. 

Keep yourself safe from hacking by following these tips:

1. Choose a stronger password

Use a combination of more than six letters, numbers, and punctuation marks to create a really strong password. While no password is infallible, a secure password is slightly harder to hack. 

2. Change your password frequently

Instagram may also remind you to change your password if many people keep trying to login. This may also happen when Instagram detects stolen account information which was taken from other sites. Changing your password frequently means that your account remains secure even if your previous password was stolen.

3. Don't use untrusted third-party apps

Now Instagrammers may use these third-party apps for promotion. However, most of them are not particularly safe. There are a few exceptions such as which promises that your personal information remains private.

4. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts.

5. Don’t use an easily guessable password.

Don’t use an easily guessable password such as your name, birthday, address or the name or birthday of your family member. 

6. Never give your password to anyone else, ever.

Seriously, sharing your password is a recipe for trouble. On one hand, if you are sharing your password with someone totally trustworthy and sincere, it may sound like a good back up plan. But remember that even the sincerest friend can fall out with you and cause no end of trouble if they have your password. Use two-factor authentication. That way, whenever you log in from a new device you will always get a code on your phone. Use that code to confirm that it is really you. Two-factor authentication is an additional layer of safety against malicious hacking attempts. 

Always log out of your account. Logging out is even more important if more than one person uses the device you are logged on with. The Remember Me option may seem like a good idea but should never be used on a shared computer or device. 

February 14, 2020
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