How Do People’s Instagram Accounts Get Hacked?

how do people's Instagram accounts get hacked?

Instagram is extremely popular – both among users and hackers. Over the years, Instagram has evolved from being a simple photo-sharing app into a massive social media phenomenon and a promising e-commerce platform. Due to this potential and the amount of profitable data in it, cybercriminals are now targeting Instagram. So the question now is this: how do people’s Instagram accounts get hacked and how to prevent it?

In this post, we will discuss the common schemes on which Instagram accounts tend to get victimized.  We also share tips on what you can do should your account become compromised. Lastly, we listed some reminders to safeguard your account to prevent hacking.

How do people’s Instagram accounts get hacked?

Your Instagram account – any social media account for that matter – isn’t as safe as you think it is. Since it exists on the internet, anyone can target you for hacking. The web is a wild world and if you don’t know the tricks of the enemies, they may triumph in stealing your well-curated Instagram account.

With that, you should know that these are the common tactics hackers use to creep into thousands of Instagram accounts.

1. Weak passwords

how do people's Instagram accounts get hacked

Weak passwords are the leading cause of hacking on Instagram accounts. Hackers know password patterns that an account holder may use.

Passwords like abc123, 123456, qwerty, and similar types are the easiest to hack. In fact, the mobile security firm Lookout published the top 20 passwords usually found on leaked accounts on the dark web. This gives a glimpse of which accounts are highly vulnerable to hacking.

If you’re guilty of using these passwords, we suggest that you log in to Instagram and change it NOW! It could only be a matter of time before a hacker finds your account as a sitting duck.

2. Malicious software

Another method used by hackers is malicious software. Spyware is the common tool hackers use to steal password information from an Instagram account holder.

The tricky part about spyware is it works in the background without the knowledge of the device owner. A type of spyware called system monitor can record keystrokes and app usage, which allows hackers to harvest your password with ease.

But how did you get the spyware in the first place? You probably accessed unsecured sites, downloaded apps from untrusted sources, or clicked on a shady link from an email or SMS message. Overall, there are many ways for a hacker to send you spyware without being detected.

Take note that spyware can target not just your Instagram account, but basically all apps logged on your phone – bank info included.

3. In-app scams

While Instagram is exhausting all possible means to keep its platform safer, it’s not invincible to in-app scams. These scams are orchestrated by unscrupulous individuals whose goal is to steal money and hack the accounts of other users.

Usually, the scammer will send a user a link saying that their followers made him or her a gift. But when the user clicks on the link, it will redirect to an external site that will steal passwords. From there, the account can be hacked. It’s a form of phishing that’s making the rounds of Instagram and other social media sites.

Aside from this, other scammers will bait the Instagram account holders by promising a specific sum of money. However, once you click the link, your Instagram information will be stolen.

4. Third-party apps

You have to be careful when using third-party apps connected to your Instagram account. Make sure that you’re only using Instagram-approved and screened apps to avoid stumbling upon malicious software.

So how can you spot an app that’s not approved by Instagram? Here are two things to look for:

Look for the official Instagram login page. Part of Instagram’s policy is that approved apps should only use their standard login form when asking for connection permission. If the pop-up looks different, you should uninstall the app immediately.

Check it in the ‘Authorized Apps’ section. Instagram has a list of authorized apps, so you can check whether the one you’re using is safe or not. For personal account holders, this can be found under Instagram settings. Meanwhile, creator and business account holders should check it on Facebook settings.

5. Having multiple Instagram admins

Many business and creator account holders often employ multiple admins to handle their accounts. Basically, anyone who was given the login details to the account is an administrator. It’s convenient in keeping the account’s content relevant and up-to-date.

However, since many people can access the account, it also increases the risk of hacking. Negligent admins may accidentally leak passwords or get hacked as well. In the process, the creator’s Instagram account details may become compromised.

If it’s unavoidable to have multiple Instagram admins, make sure that these are people you can trust. Also, you should discuss with them the risk of hacking and how to prevent it.

What to do when your Instagram account got hacked

In the unfortunate event that your Instagram got hacked, it’s important to move fast to save your account. Every minute that passes by gives hackers the chance to manipulate your account and make it more difficult to retrieve.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Boot out suspicious devices

If your Instagram is showing signs of hacking like posts you didn’t make, the first thing you need to do is check the Activity Page.

To do this, go to Settings > Security > Login Activity. Here, you can see all locations and corresponding devices where your Instagram account is logged. If there are logged places you find suspicious, tap the three dots on the right then hit ‘Log Out’.

It’s important to do this as fast as possible because time is your enemy. The goal here is to boot out the hacker quickly, so you can proceed to change your password next. Make sure that you change your password right away as the hacker can log back in with the old one.

2. Submit a support request to Instagram

In the event that your Instagram account is already inaccessible, the best course of action is to send a support request to Instagram. This is the ideal solution if the hacker has already changed the email, password, and phone number linked to your account.

Start by clicking the ‘Forgot Password’ button then follow the succeeding steps until you reach the “I can’t access this email or phone number”. In this case, Instagram will prompt you to take a video selfie. This will be compared to the photos that are currently in your account.

An important reminder…

Take note that the success rate of retrieving a hacked Instagram account is a case-to-case basis. The steps may or may work, depending on the circumstances you’re facing.

It’s also important to remember that once you’re hacked, there are only two entities that could access your account: Instagram and the hacker. Never trust a third-party service claiming that they can get your account back for a specific price. The fact that you don’t have access to your own account means that other people won’t have it, too.

It’s great if Instagram manages to retrieve your hacked account. However, if you’re not receiving any response from them, it’s safe to assume that your account is gone for good.

In case the hacker tries to extort money in exchange for your account, trust at your own risk. There’s no guarantee that a criminal will stick to his or her word. In the end, you may end up losing more on the one-sided trade.

How to protect your Instagram account from hacking

Due to the rising incidents of hacking, the best thing you can do is protect your Instagram account proactively. You should never wait for a hacker to creep into your account before you take action. Because by then, it might be too late for your efforts.

Here are some of the steps that will safeguard your Instagram account against hackers:

  • Activate two-factor authentication. The two-factor authentication feature of Instagram adds a second layer of protection for your account. This will require a unique code sent to your mobile number or email each time you log in to your account. With that, hackers will have more work to do if they want to gain access.
  • Don’t believe DMs from Instagram. The platform has made it clear: they will never send users any DM. If there’s an account posing as Instagram and trying to gain your sensitive information, block it and never indulge in its pursuits.
  • Change your passwords periodically. It’s also a good habit to change your Instagram password periodically. This way, hackers that are low-key spying on you will be booted out before they try to steal your account. Make sure that you use a strong password all the time.
  • Review your third-party apps. If you have multiple third-party apps connected to your account, now is the time to review them. Revoke access to suspicious apps and those that aren’t included in the authorized list of Instagram.
  • Don’t give your password to anyone. Some of us are guilty of telling other people our passwords because we forget them too often. It’s best to avoid doing this because you’ll never know when your password will land in the wrong hands.
  • Avoid connecting IG to FB. Many users utilize their Facebook accounts to log into their Instagram accounts. Sure, it’s convenient, but once your Facebook account gets compromised, the hacking will have a domino effect on your Instagram handle.
  • Consider using a VPN. A VPN or Virtual Private Network will hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic. It’s like a privacy blanket that will give hackers a hard time accessing your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you be hacked through an Instagram DM?

A: Yes, you can get hacked through a direct message on Instagram. This is why you should be vigilant about the messages you’re receiving from people you don’t know. Also, never click on suspicious links even if they came from an account you recognized. That account can also be hacked and the hacker is snowballing its target.

Q: Can I still recover a hacked Instagram account?

A: There are ways to recover a hacked Instagram account. Sometimes, clicking ‘forget password’ and resetting your login details will do the trick if you caught on the hacking early. The Instagram support desk can also help you retrieve your account back. However, if the hacker managed to delete your account, it might be difficult or impossible to recover.

Q: Can Instagram recover your account?

A: Instagram has a help desk that can help you in case your account got compromised. However, the success rate of recovering it at this point depends on what the hacker did to your account. If it’s been deleted, your chances of having it back are almost nil.

Q: Can I still recover my Instagram account without a password or email?

A: If your Instagram account email and password are no longer accessible, you can try clicking on ‘Forgot Password’ and then follow the steps that will pop on the screen. If nothing works for you, you’ll be redirected to submit a support request. From there, the help desk will be assisting you.

Q: Can police track Instagram?

A: Yes, the cybercrime division of the police force can track social media accounts, including those on Instagram. But before they do so, someone needs to file an official complaint. This is in compliance with data privacy and due process of the law.

Q: Can someone still hack my Instagram account with two-factor authentication?

A: Two-factor authentication is an added layer of protection against hackers, but it doesn’t provide absolute security. Hackers who are sophisticated enough to hack your email and phone number can still bypass TFA. However, it entails a lot of work, but still not an impossibility.

Final words

How do people’s Instagram accounts get hacked? It can be due to weak passwords, phishing, in-app scams, third-party apps, and more. There are many possibilities here as hackers become more and more sophisticated with their criminal ways.

What’s important is you put up layers of protection to prevent a future breach. Your account may not be invincible, but you’ll be steps ahead of potential hackers.