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How Do Instagram Accounts Get Hacked?

Published March 27, 2024

Instagram continues to stand out as one of the most popular social media platforms. With that being said, this popularity also makes it a prime target for cybercriminals. With over a billion active users on the platform, Instagram is a goldmine for hackers looking to exploit personal information for malicious purposes.

Think about how much of your information you have stored in your Instagram app. If someone were to hack into it, they would have access to all of that data. The question is, how exactly do Instagram accounts fall prey to hackers? There are typically several lines of defense in place. In this article, we’re going to answer the question ‘how do Instagram accounts get hacked?” and tips for preventing it.

Phishing

The most common method of gaining access to your Instagram account that hackers use is phishing. Typically, a phishing attack involves the user receiving a fraudulent message that appears to be from Instagram, or another user.

The message might look like a support agent letting you know there’s an issue with your account, and that you should follow the link that leads to a fake login page. When you enter your credentials into this link, you’re handing your information directly into the hands of the hacker. They can lock you out of your account within seconds. According to a report by Verizon, 12% of data breaches involved phishing, showing how effective it is as a hacking tool.

Weak Passwords

Another area where hackers tend to find account access is through passwords. Weak, reused or easily guessable passwords are a hacker’s dream. Think about your passwords right now. Do you use the same one for every account, or some variation? You should probably change them.

Many users still use passwords that are very easy to guess, making their accounts easy targets. If you use the same password on all of your accounts, it can lead to a domino effect, compromising all your accounts. If you find that one of your accounts has been hacked, change all of your other passwords immediately.

Malware and Spyware

Malware and Spyware can also lead to Instagram account hacks. These malicious programs can monitor and record keystrokes, capturing login details when the user accesses their Instagram account. In fact, data shows that one in ten URLs identified is malicious, underlining the risk of malware.

Third-party Apps

Another way Instagram accounts can get hacked is through third-party apps. Instagram users may install third-party applications to enhance their Instagram experience. The problem is that some of these apps can have weak security or be designed to harvest login details. Granting access to these apps without vetting their security can inadvertently expose your Instagram account to hackers.

Tips to Keep Your Instagram Account Safe

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code sent to your phone in addition to your password.
  • Be Password-Savvy: Use complex, unique passwords and consider a password manager to keep track of them.
  • Stay Vigilant Against Phishing: Verify the authenticity of any communication claiming to be from Instagram.
  • Audit Third-Party Apps Access: Revoke permissions to any apps that you no longer use regularly.

Closing Thoughts

Awareness and precaution are your best line of defense against potential hackers. By understanding the common tactics they use and being proactive about changing your passwords and using 2FA, you can keep your Instagram account safe.

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Written By:
AUTHOR & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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