October 13, 2020

Privacy Tip of the Week: Protect Your Instagram Account

Posted by Rhiannon

More than one billion people around the world have an Instagram account. Chances are, you’re one of them. It’s a great platform, allowing users to upload photos, share comments, and connect with friends and family. But, like with any popular platform these days, it can get hacked. All of a sudden, your access to your photos and memories is gone and someone else is controlling your account. So how do you know if your profile is hacked, and how do you protect your Instagram account?

  • Signs of a hack
  • Use strong credentials
  • Don’t connect to Facebook
  • Avoid strangers
  • Don’t use Instagram on other platforms
  • Do use a VPN
  • Can I get my account back?

Signs of a Hack

Hackers, generally speaking, try to be sneaky. Why announce an attack and risk the chances of it being prevented? So, if your account is hacked, will you even know? Well, it depends on the frequency with which you use Instagram. There are a few common signs that point to a hack, but you have to be vigilant in order to notice them. A few of those signs include:

  • The inability to log in to your account. You’ve all of a sudden been signed out and, no matter how many times you check and double check your login credentials, you still can’t access your account.
  • Image uploads begin appearing on your account that you did not post.
  • You’re seeing profiles in your feed from accounts you definitely didn’t follow.

Protect Your Instagram Account

Use Strong Credentials

The harder you make it to get into your account, the less likely it is to be hacked. Stick with passwords longer than eight characters. They should include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, and should not include dictionary words. In addition, turn on two-factor authentication so anyone trying to get into your account needs your email, password and a temporary second password sent directly to your phone.

Don’t Connect to Facebook

In 2012, social media giant Facebook purchased Instagram. As a result of this acquisition, users can connect Instagram to Facebook, and also use Facebook to sign in to Instagram altogether. Unfortunately, this means if your Facebook credentials are leaked, so to will those for Instagram. Although this feature is convenient, it’s also dangerous.

Avoid Strangers

Most social media sites are plagued by bots, trolls, and other harmful, fake accounts. Instagram is no different. Many of these accounts send users messages encouraging them to click on a link within the message. If you do, you may accidentally be opening your account to a hack. Prevent this by never clicking links from strangers, and reporting the unfamiliar accounts messaging you out of the blue.

Don’t Use Instagram on Other Platforms

Many websites embed links to Instagram within their articles. This is popular for roundups of products to try, accounts to follow, and posts that have gone viral. In the case of a popular, trustworthy website, these embeds are typically safe to click. However, if you’re on an unfamiliar website and don’t know how safe it is, clicking the Instagram links within the site’s pages might take you to a malicious destination.

Do Use a VPN

Browsing Instagram is a great way of passing the time, especially when you’re out and about (and using public wi-fi). Unfortunately, public wi-fi poses its own risks; any other user sharing a public network may be able to see your activity. This means, if you log in to Instagram on a public network, anyone snooping on that network may see and steal your credentials. By using a VPN on public wi-fi, you can scramble your activity so no one can see what you’re doing.

Can I Get My Account Back?

If your account has been hacked, is it possible to get it back? Well, it depends. If you can still access your account, simply changing your password should boot out any hackers lying in wait on it. If you’ve lost access altogether, report the issue to Instagram; they can usually help.

If you’re looking for a VPN to protect your Instagram account online, look no further. HotBot VPN has all the features you need, at a price you can afford. Sign up today!

Posted by Rhiannon

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