Updated: Apr 23
We sincerely hope that you never have to deal with your Instagram account being hacked, but sadly it is happening more and more. This can be an incredibly frightening thought, particularly if using Instagram as a business owner to encourage sales.
How do Instagram accounts get hacked?
An Instagram account can be hacked in a variety of different ways. Someone may steal or guess your login information, they may send you a link to click on that steals your account information, or they may trick you into sending them access. Sadly, hacks are getting more and more sophisticated. Coupled with Instagram’s pretty non-existent support team, it can be extremely difficult to retrieve or close down hacked accounts.
So, let’s prevent that from happening in the first place! Here are our top 10 tips to protect your Instagram account from being hacked…
Our Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Instagram Account
Use a secure password
Use a password manager
Make sure your details are up to date
Find and store your recovery codes
Set up an authentication app
Check your your login activity & security emails from Instagram
Always use the app on your phone
Take your time
Install Antivirus protection
1. Use a Secure Password
Despite this being the obvious number 1 step to ensuring your account is safe, it is incredibly surprising the amount of clients we work with that either don’t even know what their password is, use the same password for everything, or use a simple/obvious password which leaves them at such a risk of hacking.
Create a unique and strong password for each account you have. Mix it up with numbers, upper and lower case letters and special characters or opt for multiple random words. If you are using a password manager, these will often have password generators that you can use. Absolutely do not use your address, business name, pet’s name, your D.O.B or anything obvious as part of your password!
2. Use a Password Manager
Do you store your passwords in notebooks that you keep losing, on a photo/screenshot saved to your phone, or in a Word/Google document? These can all be stolen, lost or hacked.
Use a password manager such as Lastpass or RememBear to store all your passwords. You only need to remember ONE master password to log into the manager and it will autofill your login details for you. As mentioned before, it can even suggest new passwords for you! You can use the free version that will work on one device, but we strongly recommend opting for a paid package that is around £3 per month - it will automatically update and provide access to your passwords across any device you choose to use (this comes in handy if your original device gets stolen, lost or damaged).
3. Ensure Your Details Are Up To Date
If you get locked out of your Instagram account, Instagram will try to help you regain access to your account by sending codes or links to the email/phone number you have stored. But this is useless if they are sent to phone numbers or email addresses you no longer own!
Important note: Meta often sends the reset password link not to the current email address you have listed with your Instagram account, but the very original one you set it up with (yes, this is incredibly annoying!). Too often, people have closed or lost access to this email account, so cannot retrieve the link to reset their password.
Ideally, you want to ensure that you always have access to that account - but, at the very least, note down what the email address was so you can prove to Meta that you are the rightful owner of the account. Additionally, make sure that your email account is also secured with a unique, strong password and has not been compromised, so that you will receive security notifications from Instagram.
4. Find & Store Your Recovery Codes
If your Instagram account is hacked and the password has been changed, you can access it again using recovery codes.
Make sure you have a copy of your recovery codes so you can use them to regain access to your account and log out of all sessions except your own. Ensure that you have a list of up to date codes, as they are one time use only. Once new codes are requested, the old ones expire - so you would have to act fast if using these, as the hacker can request new codes to stop you accessing the account. Write these down on paper and store them in a secure place, or add them to your password manager in the notes section. Do not store them in an unprotected Word or Google document, as these can be hacked too!
How do I find my recovery codes on Instagram? Open the Instagram app Go to your profile Click on the menu in the top right Hit settings Hit Security Hit Two-factor authentication Hit Additional Methods Hit Backup codes
5. Set Up An Authentication App
Even if you have a strong password, a hacker may still be able to steal your account in other ways, which means you need an extra layer of security.
An authentication app is unique to your phone/Google account (we recommend the Google authentication app) and generates a new code every few seconds for you to type into the verification code request that will be prompted when a new/unrecognised device logs into your account. This reduces the chance of a hacker gaining control of your account.
6. Check Your Log In Activity & Emails From Instagram
Hackers are not always obvious - sometimes, they can sit and watch for a long time in the background before making a move and can collect a lot of information about you and your habits, as well as other people you may talk to via DMs during this time! Hackers can also begin making changes to your settings/personal information which you may not pick up in your email account.
Regularly double check your ‘login activity’ for devices you do not recognise. From here, you can also log out specific devices or all sessions to allow you to secure your account. Regularly double check your ‘emails from Instagram’ to review changes you may not have made, so you can act before you lose access to your account.
How do I find my Login activity on Instagram? Open the Instagram app Go to your profile Click on the menu in the top right Hit settings Hit Security Hit Login activity or Emails from Instagram
7. Always Use The App
Desktops and laptops can be compromised with viruses, malware and trackers, which can make you vulnerable to attacks or hacking via links or disingenuous sites.
Phones and in particular the apps are often not as susceptible to these issues, making it a safer (but not a fool proof) option to use the app on a mobile device (vs a web browser on a desktop/laptop).
8. Be Wary!
Of Links Links prompting you to log into your account can be disingenuous, leading to your login information being stolen.
Of Emails Emails can be made to look genuine, but so many people have been hacked/phished by such emails.
Of other social media accounts
No matter how well you know a follower of yours, their own account may have been hacked.
Links Ensure that a link is safe before clicking on it, and if you are not sure, consider how you came across the link and Google it instead of clicking the link directly to double check its source and authenticity.
Emails Never open anything you think looks dodgy and always report spam. On desktops, you can hover over an email sender (BEFORE you open it) to view the email address and, if that doesn’t seem to match up with the brand/preview text of the email, report it as spam and delete it.
Other social media accounts
Always double check any request for information in person or on facetime, so you can be sure it is a genuine request. And, if you are ever uncomfortable or unsure about giving out information - don’t do it!
9. Take Your Time
All too often, we are running around at full speed and doing everything in a rush. This is where mistakes can happen. Clicking on something or giving information away or being lapse with security can happen when acting in this frantic and tired mode, which you wouldn’t normally do if you could take a breath and think clearly about the situation.
If you are not sure about something, revisit it at a later time when you are not pressured to make a decision quickly or due to frustration. It can save so much heartache and headache in the long run.
10. Install Antivirus Protection
Any device linked to the internet is at risk of being hacked, compromised or cloned. Therefore, any information you may have stored previously or presently on said device can be stolen, deleted or corrupted. This can lead to your login information also being stolen from you or your social media (and other) accounts being hacked.
Invest in antivirus protection for your computer (whether you use a desktop or laptop). If you opt for a package that can be used across multiple devices, install it on your phone too.
We are in no way affiliated with the brands or products we recommend in this blog article.