Becoming famous on Instagram and gaining the attention of your audience comes at a fairly high price! Hence, a hacked Instagram account is no less than a nightmare that everyone wants to avoid. However, influencers, celebrities, athletes, and other prominent accounts with huge followings are constantly on the radar of hackers. These cybercriminals devise highly deceptive ways to dupe account owners into sharing their login credentials. And oftentimes, this results in the actual owners losing access to their accounts forever.
With over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram was named the fourth most popular social media platform worldwide in January 2022. Moreover, Instagram accounts for nearly 28 percent of the global internet population. These stats lure threat actors to barge into established accounts and ask for ransom, or worse, sell them off by changing their usernames.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s no solution to this growing problem. In this comprehensive guide on how to recover a hacked Instagram account, we’ll tell you everything you need to know. But before that, let’s understand how and why Instagram accounts get hacked. We will also look at how to safeguard your account and the proven ways to retrieve a hacked Instagram account.
Why Is an Instagram Account Hacked?
Hackers have different reasons to target different categories of Instagram accounts. High-profile accounts with thousands of followers are often hacked to seek ransom from the original owner or sell them off in a black market.
On the other hand, Instagram accounts of ordinary folks also face the constant threat of hacking attacks. Once hacked, these usual-yet-genuine accounts can be used to push sales and marketing campaigns, raise likes for fake accounts, and even propagate political or other agendas.
Therefore, it’s not just for the rich and Insta-famous to keep their guard up. Anyone using the platform must follow proper security measures and stay alert to turn down hacking attempts.
How Do Hackers Gain Access to an Instagram Account?
Hackers use brute-force methods or phishing to gain access to an Instagram account. They can also hack into accounts you’ve followed and ask you to click on dubious links.
In the most common phishing attacks, bad actors could pose as Instagram security, sending you links to verify your identity. These links take you to third-party websites. Once you enter your credentials, these scammers immediately gain access to your account. Then they remove you as an admin and change the login information.
Unverified third-party apps can also pose a threat to your Instagram account security. If third-party apps having access to your Instagram get compromised in a data breach, hackers can use them to break into your Instagram account.
On the other hand, using the same password for multiple social media accounts is also a common culprit. If one account gets breached in a security threat, hackers may easily use its credentials to access your other profiles.
What Factors May Lead to a Hacked Instagram Account?
Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerable Instagram accounts. The most common factors that may lead to a hacked Instagram account are:
1. Weak passwords
Hackers have specific tools at their disposal that can detect weak passwords. You should keep a strong password that combines special characters, numerals, and different cases. You may also use a password manager app or browser extension to make things easier.
2. Clicking on dubious links
Sending suspicious links is the most common way scammers work online. You must refrain from clicking dubious links from unverified sources to avoid falling prey to such gimmicks.
3. Malware attacks
Cybercriminals deploy malware on your system to access data and track your online movements. They can install Keyloggers to know your passwords and hack into your IG account using the same. Hence, it’s crucial to protect your mobile phones and computers with reliable anti-virus and anti-malware software.
How to Know If My Instagram Account Has Been Hacked?
There are several clues of a hacked Instagram account. Some subtle hints include unusual requests to your followers, following unrecognized accounts, unfamiliar DMs, and adding/deleting posts. Meanwhile, a change of login credentials like your email, phone number, username, or password is a sure-fire indicator.
Having said that, the hacker may not act aggressively in the initial days and wait for the right moment to strike.
However, no matter the case, here’s what you should do and avoid once your Instagram has been compromised.
- If you can still log in to your account, you must change your login credentials immediately to secure your account. To get a leg up, you should even change the password of your registered email account.
- Check your login activity to distinguish any suspicious logins.
- The next step is to screen all third-party app authorizations and revoke access to unverified or vulnerable apps.
- Lastly, review the list of your followers and the accounts you follow. Unfollow and block the ones you don’t recognize.
A hacked Instagram account recovery is easier when you have access to your account. However, if you cannot log in to your account, follow the steps under “How to Recover My Hacked Instagram Account?”
- First things first, do not click on any links you may find in suspicious messages.
- Secondly, do not engage with any unwarranted followers or new accounts.
- Most importantly, do not go gaga over telling the world that your Instagram account has been hacked! It can attract more scammers or even bots.
There are several steps you can take to recover your hacked Instagram account.
The first and foremost step is to seek help from Instagram support. Look for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org notifying you of a change in your email address. Click on the “revert this change” link to undo the action. You can also request a security code via SMS on your phone number. Else, you can even get a login link on your registered email address from Instagram.
Moreover, you can click “Get help logging in” or “Forgotten password” from the Instagram login screen and follow further instructions.
The next step is to request support from Instagram if:
1. You’re unable to log in to your account successfully using the login link, or
2. You don’t get the security code.
Click on “I can’t access this email address or phone number” below the “Send security code” tab and follow further instructions. Enter a secured email address where you can receive an email from Instagram to recover your Instagram account.
Instagram can ask you to prove your identity by taking a video selfie from different angles. Instagram will review this video to establish that you’re the authentic owner of the reported Instagram account.
However, if all of the above steps fail to get your Instagram account back from Instagram support, you can seek help from an Instagram support agency like Digital Nod. We’re the #1 social media agency offering Instagram support services. Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of Instagrammers regain access to their hacked Instagram accounts.
How to Keep My Instagram Account Safe in the Future?
Whether you’re a business owner or an influencer on Instagram, it’s vital to secure your account at all times. Here’s how you can protect your account from any future cyberattacks or hacking attempts:
1. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication
2FA or Two-Factor Authentication is the most dependable method to secure your Instagram account. You may use a trustworthy third-party authenticator app like Google Authenticator to get the login codes. Else, you can also turn on text-message codes (SMS) from Instagram to your registered phone number.
Whichever method you choose, setting up two-factor authentication is easy, quick, and safe.
2. Change Your Passwords Often
Changing your passwords every now and then is another useful way to secure your online activity. You can do it every three months for your primary email address, Instagram account, and other frequently visited platforms.
3. Watch Notifications Closely
Lastly, keep a tab on all the notifications you receive from various providers. It could be from Instagram, Facebook, or your email provider. Acting fast on messages can help you revert changes effectively and save yourself from all the trouble of a hacked Instagram account.
We hope that the information in this blog was useful to you in keeping your Instagram account safe from hackers. However, if you still have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!