Instagram account hacked
As social media specialist, it goes without saying that losing access to your Instagram account is nerve-wrecking. It disrupts your business processes, and can effectively zero all of your hard work in a matter of minutes. Luckily, there are actions you can take to get back in control.
How to recover a hacked Instagram account
Here are some of the main methods to wrestle your account back from hackers' hands:
1. Check the email inbox associated with your Instagram account — specifically, check for an automated message from Instagram that indicates your login credentials are being changed. If you're quick, you'll be able to click on the Revert this change button to recover your account almost immediately. Suffice it to say, you should log into your account and change the credentials ASAP after this;
2. Request a login link — you can also try the password recovery option. Click Get help logging in (for Android) or Forgot Password? (for iOS), then enter your username, email address, and phone number. After this, you'll be able to choose between receiving the recovery link via email or SMS. Once received, click on the link, get into your account, and change the credentials immediately;
3. Reach out to the support team — in case both previous methods failed, your only recourse is to submit a support ticket to Instagram. Here's how it's done:
- Go through the Get help logging in or Forgot Password? menus as before, but select the Need more help? option instead of filling out the details;
- Choose the account you'd like to verify. After that, you'll receive a recovery code prompt — choose text message option. Note that if the hacker has already changed your credentials, this will likely fail;
- In case the credentials were indeed changed, or the hacker already set up 2-factor authentication, find the Try Another Way button;
- There, click on Get Support, and find the My account was hacked option;
- You'll be asked to confirm if you have photoes of yourself on the account, and a secure email address you can be reached out by.
Note that you will be required to verify your identity — Instagram will request the email address or phone number you used to sign up, as well as the device you've used at the time (e.g. iPhone). In case your account also happens to have photoes of you, you will be required to record a video selfie to prove you are that same person. These selfies are mostly reviewed automatically via an AI, but manual human representative reviews are also a thing.
Best practices to prevent your Instagram account from being hacked
Much like the security measures, hackers and their methods keep evolving. There are, however, a few steps everyone can take to boost their security online:
- Use 2-factor authentication (2FA) — another layer of security to all of your accounts. While it might be annoying to recall 2 pieces of information whenever you need to log into your account, using 2FA is a considerable obstruction to any hacking attempts. Chances that the hackers will be able to get physical access to your mobile device are fairly low;
- Double check any links received — the bulk of online scams relies on you clicking on a link where hackers impersonate staff members, influencers, or whole websites. Modern phisining links rarely have more than 1-2 elements different from an actually legitimate link (think instagram.net, instead of instagram.com), which is why you should make sure to carefully look through any link you've received, regardless of how trustworthy a source seems to be;
- Use a password manager — password managers are apps that securely store your online credentials and help you come up with strong, hard-to-crack passwords. This would essentially be another layer of security on your account.
Remember that all of these recommendations help you reduce the risk of getting hacked, but it still might happen. Your ultimate weapon against the hackers is perception and vigilance. Don't let yourself be fooled!