How To Avoid Having Your Instagram Account Hacked

We all like our privacy…and feel like we’ve been personally violated when someone takes that away. We feel vulnerable, and taken advantage of.

Recently I had my Instagram account hacked.  It happens.  Lately though it seems that more and more accounts are being hacked. Banks, department stores, learning institutions, to name a few have had breaches of security with respect to their data.

Whether it’s your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other social media account, you are subject to a hacker. In most cases, many of the hackers are just annoying to you by putting up photos of women to lure people to “dating” web sites.

However, some hackers may take your personal data, steal your identity, and in some instances, gather enough info to make purchases on your credit cards, set up new credit cards, and leave you on the hook for the bill and/or credit discrepancies at the end of the day.

That being said, I thought that I’d share with you information on how to make it, maybe not impossible, but much more difficult for hackers to get into your Instagram account, like they did mine yesterday.

Here’s what happened to me, and could happen to you. I got some text messages, and Facebook direct messages from friends and family telling me that my Instragram account had been hacked. One of my friends even sent me a copy of the pics.

Truthfully, up until yesterday, I hadn’t used Instagram much. In fact, my last post had been two years ago. A perfect target for a hacker. An existing account which the owner didn’t pay much attention to, wasn’t posting on and wasn’t much of a user. They assumed that I’d probably not even notice. Though I didn’t others did.

So…Watch out for risque pictures (usually of women) on your account.

After going to YOUR profile, the user is directed to click on a link, which then takes them to an intermediary site which the hacker controls.

When you “land” on that page, you will likely see a link where the user can take a “survey” with an offer for free nude photos, and “quick” sex without any commitments.

Once the user completes the survey, they are once again redirected. This time, they will land on an adult dating website that contains an affiliate identification number.

Every time that site signs up a new member for the site through this link, the affiliate (scammer), earns money.

How are so many Instagram accounts being hacked?  Security experts at Synmatic suggest that it’s from passwords that are basic and simple in nature, or passwords that have been reused on multiple accounts which you (the user) may have.

Once the hacker gets into your account…in most cases they will immediately edit your user name, profile picture, bio and profile link, and start uploading the aforementioned photos. Fortunately for me, they only uploaded photos.

Also, the original password is usually changed to lock you out of your own account. I fortunately caught it quick enough to avoid that.

Symantec also says that a couple of identifying traits you’ve been hacked are…

1) the profile image is always changed to a photograph of a woman, regardless of the gender of the actual account owner. (somehow that didn’t happen with mine)

2) To make it “more plausible” original images from the account owner are not deleted, but remain on the hacked profile.

So, here’s how you can protect yourself from these hackers.

Unbeknownst to many Instagram users, this year Instagram initiated a two-factor authentication, adding an extra layer of security to your accounts.

You can check to see whether the option is accessible by tapping the wheel icon in the top right corner of your profile.

Under account settings, there will be an option to enable two factor authentication if it is available. That will create another layer of protection for you from these people.

However, if you feel that your account has been hacked, you can report it here.

 

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