[UPDATED] How to Secure Your Instagram Account

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In recent years, Instagram has become a popular platform for sharing photos and videos with friends and family plus also being a platform to share your creative work as you build a personal brand, especially to Influencers thanks to its tone of features such as Instagram Stories which have hooked its respectively. Here are a few steps that will increase the security of your Instagram account and keep hackers away.

First of all, head over to your settings page or click here.

Use a Strong Password

It’s time to stop using dumb passwords. Change your Instagram password here.


You can create a strong password that has a minimum of 12 characters, includes numbers, symbols, capital letters, lower-case letters, isn’t a dictionary word or combination of dictionary words plus doesn’t rely on obvious substitutions.

It’s has been made easier by password generators free on the internet such as strongpasswordgenerator.com and passwordgenerator.net. What I usually do is after they have generated one for me, I go ahead and modify it to make it easy to remember.

Password managers also create for you strong passwords. LastPass has a tool for that and you don’t have to create an account with them. Dashlane too, although you’ll have to create an account with them.

These tools will not only create a strong password for you, but they can also manage the passwords for you for different accounts so that you don’t have to use the same password for your other accounts.

Some browsers like Chrome also do handle password management too for not only current accounts but also new accounts. It even has password checker that is a service that examines a user’s saved passwords if they have been compromised in any way.

Another way is through the Passphrase/Diceware method. This method suggests choosing 6 or more random words and joining them together to create a passphrase which then becomes your password.

Here’s XKCD comic.

Image Courtesy | XKCD

Use SMS Two-Factor Authentication

Instagram offers SMS 2FA where you add your number so that when you log in to Instagram account, a code is sent and you use it as a token to verify your account.

Simply head to your Instagram profile and tap the settings button. Then scroll down to Security and tap Two-Factor Authentication and enable this feature.

Save these changes when you’re done.

SMS based 2FA isn’t the safest though. Companies can use your phone number for ad targetting purposes such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, sim swaps can occur without your knowledge leaving you vulnerable.

Despite this, it is the easiest to set up and is more adaptable for most users.

Use Application-Based Two Factor Authentication

You can now ditch SMS-based 2FA for app-based 2FA and Instagram already supports third-party authentication apps such as AuthyMicrosoft AuthenticatorGoogle Authenticator and LastPass apps.

Authy even allows for multiple device support for those who frequently change devices via a cloud backup.

Authy’s desktop, Android and iOS apps let you search for tokens by name, display tokens as a list or grid view, greater device information so you can view and remove unused apps. You also get push authentication support for websites that have implemented it.

It’s best to install the Authy app on your phone and desktop or another device so that when the tokens are synched to the Authy Cloud, they automatically sync. This is so when an attempt to install another instance of Authy, you get notified via the other app as Authy checks the new device against an existing device they already trust.

Once this is done, go ahead and turn off the apps multi-device feature so that no additional apps are installed.

Most sites will suggest Google Authenticator app for 2FA but you can easily substitute that for Authy.

2FA apps are also vulnerable as most sites have a logic flaw vulnerability that let you log in without knowing the current password. It works for when you’re trying to change your password while being in the process of logging in in the 2FA login page. Google fixed this issue. Instagram and Microsoft are still vulnerable. Read all about it here.

Simply head to your Instagram profile and tap the settings button. Then scroll down to Security and tap Two-Factor Authentication and enable this feature for the Authentication app option.

If you have the authentication apps listed above, Instagram will automatically find the app and send a login code to it. You’ll have to get the code and enter it. Once that is done, two-factor authentication will turn on automatically.

Consumers are becoming more aware of 2FA and moving beyond password-only logins as there’s been a 538% increase in users enabling 2FA from 2015 to 2017.

Review apps connected to your Instagram account

Make sure you review apps that use your Instagram account to log in to their platforms. If you longer use those apps or services, revoke their access.

Head to your Instagram profile, go to Security settings and tap on Apps and Websites or just click here. If you see anything shady or apps you’ve stopped using, easily click revoke third-party app access by clicking the Revoke Access button.

Instagram is also introducing an updated authorization screen that lists all the information the third party is requesting to access. You’ll have the option to “cancel” or “authorize” this access directly from the authorization screen.

Use Instagram’s New Account Recovery Process

This is for when you can’t access your Instagram account because the password was changed. Just tap the “My login info isn’t working” button that will prompt you to enter the email address or phone number linked to your account. Instagram will then send you a six-digit code to allow you to regain access to your account.

Avoid Phishing Emails

Instagram has a “Emails from Instagram” tab, which will allow anyone to check if an email claiming to be from Instagram is genuine to avoid phishing emails. It can be found here Settings > Security > Emails From Instagram. A security tab displays a list of the emails Instagram sent you within the past 14 days regarding your account security and the locations from which you’ve logged in. On the “Other” tab, Instagram will show you any remaining emails Instagram sent to you over the same period

Other Privacy features

  • Make your account private so that you can only share your photos with a select group of people. Your photos will stay hidden from everyone else and thus only people you really care about will be aware of your activities.

On the app, head to your profile, scroll to settings then select “Privacy and Security” then “Account Privacy.” and enable that toggle. Do the same for the web but tick that checkbox for Private account or just click here.

If you are watching Netflix’s You, this meme makes sense.

  • Block Followers form seeing your posts – they won’t be notified you’ve blocked them. On the app, just tap “Followers” at the top of the main mobile menu and then search the follower you want to block and tap the three vertical dots and select remove. Follow the same steps for the web and when tap on the three horizontal dots to the right of their name. Select “Block this user.”
  • Mute Accounts: You can mute accounts so that you stop seeing their updates in your feed. Head to their profile and tap the three-dot menu next to the name and select Mute. Instagram will not notify them that you’ve muted them. You have the option to mute an account’s posts, their stories, or both. For DMs,  tap the information icon on the top right, where you can opt to mute messages and/or video chats. To manage your mute list, head to  Settings > Privacy > Muted Accounts.
  • Restrict Accounts: Instagram has Restrict feature that hides a particular user’s comments and notifications if you want to stop seeing their posts and comments without unfollowing or reporting them. This feature can be enabled by going to Settings > Privacy > Restricted Account and add the accounts manually or going to the individual’s profile, tap the three-dot icon on the top right and select Restrict. Comments from restricted users will only be visible to them. You can choose to see them by tapping on the “See Comment” and then choose to approve it, delete it, or ignore it. As usual, you won’t receive any notifications for comments from a restricted account.
  • Protect your Stories by limiting who sees your stories. Hide your Stories from specific people by going to Settings> Privacy > Story > Choose Hide Story From and circle the follower you don’t want to see your Stories and cut off their acccess. Another thing you can do is prevent people from sharing your Story by going to Settings . Privacy > Story and scroll down to the Sharing label and turn off the Allow Sharing toggle to prevent people from messaging your Stories to others. While you’re here, you can also turn off the Allow Resharing to Stories option. This will prevent people from adding your posts to their stories. You can also disable the Share your Story to Facebook option
  • The Close Friends option can also come in handy for you a sit limits the reach of Stories to specific people by going to Settings > Privacy > Story and under Close Friends, start adding people. The good thing is that Instagram doesn’t notify the people added or removed from this group. Rooney’s wife used this feature to figure out the snitch in her friend group.

  • Inspect Accounts to verify their legitimacy: Head to the profile and tap the three-dot menu, and select About this Account. Instagram will then show you when the user joined the platform, what country the account is located in, any ads they are running, a history of username changes, and accounts with shared followers. If anything seems suspicious, you can block or report the accounts.
  • Check if your account has been hacked by checking for account activities that include logins, logouts, changing a password plus more. In the app, head to Settings > Privacy and Security > Access Data. On the web, click here. You’ll be redirected to an info page that has a great deal of data on how your account has been used.  You can then click any category to get more information such as “Hashtags you follow”, “Account Privacy changes”, “Logins”, “Logouts” and so on. While you’re here focus on “Password changes”, “Logins”, “Logouts” and “Stories Activity”. If you see anything suspicious, it may mean someone else is using your account and it’s imperative you change your password to lock them out.
  • Disable Activity Status so that no one can tell if you’re online by heading to Settings > Privacy > Activity Status and toggle that option off.
  • Disable contact synching by going to Settings> Account > Contact Synching and disable contacts.
  • Turn off suggested accounts to follow by going to your profile, click the edit profile button and then scroll to the last option that reads Similar Account Suggestion and uncheck it.
  • Untag yourself from photos.  This comes handy for public accounts and by reviewing who tags you, you can stop spammers and for private accounts, stop your friends from tagging you in an inappropriate photo(s). Head to Settings> Privacy > Tags and enable Manually Approved Tags.
  • Stop Stories form being saved by heading to Settings > Privacy > Story and turn off Save to Camera Roll or Save to Gallery on iOS and Android respectively. Another setting to turn off is the Save to Archive option. Instgaram will now not hold on to Stories long after they’ve disappeared.
  • Keep your posts within Instagram by  heading to Settings > Account > Original Posts and disable the Save Original Posts, Save Posted Photos, and Save Posted Videos options so that photos aren’t saved on your phone but only on Instagram.
  • Disable Ad personalization by either hopping on to the Facebook app, you click the hamburger menu found in te top right corner and scroll to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Ad Perefrences > Ad Settings or going to the web in the Ad Preferences page(direct link) and click on the Ad Settings to see your options. Turn off these two options: Ads based on data from partners and Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere. This will stop Facebook from targetting you with ads it based off of information gotten outside of Instagram.

Conclusion


Enabling these security protections will ensure your Instagram account is safe and makes it difficult for hackers to gain access to your account plus also making your experience on Instagram worthwhile.

Wishlist: Features Instagram Should Have

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