What to do if your Instagram account has been hacked

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Martí Micolau
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No matter how good you think your password is, your Instagram account could be compromised. And if and when that happens, you need to know how to fix. In this article, we explain what to do when your Instagram account has been hacked. We will also help you prevent your Instagram account from being compromised in the future.

How to know if your Instagram account has been hacked

When someone tries to change the email or password associated with your Instagram account, Instagram will notify you. But it is possible that someone will log into your email account and use it without your knowledge. Instagram only sends an email if you log into your account from a different territory or country.

If so, you should look into previous activity on your Instagram account. Take a look at your stories, posts, comments and direct messages to understand any changes or updates that have occurred that you are not aware of. If a friend of yours has hacked your account, you will be able to find out this way.

You can also use the section Account data Instagram to view information about login activity, privacy changes and associated email addresses.

If you can still log into your Instagram account, open it in a web browser, go to yours Profile and click the icon Settings. From here, click Privacy and security and select View account data.

Step 1: Change your Instagram password

If only your password has been changed, you can reset your Instagram account by resetting the password. On your Android or iPhone device, go to the login screen and tap Did you forget your password?

Follow the on-screen instructions by entering your email ID. You will then receive an email to reset your password. Click on the link and create the new password. Make sure the new password is strong and not the one you used previously.

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Step 2: Revoke access to suspicious applications

Sometimes a malicious application can be the reason you are having trouble logging into your account.

After logging into your account on the web, go to the section Profile, click the icon of the gear and select Authorized apps. You can now go through the list of apps and remove the ones you aren't using or the ones you don't remember authorizing.

Step 3: Restore your hacked account

If your Instagram account has been hacked and the hacker has changed your login information, including your email address and phone number, recovering the account will be much more difficult (and will require a lot of patience). Sometimes it can take a few weeks to restore a compromised Instagram account.

You will need to act quickly the moment you receive a notification email from Instagram. The email will tell you that your password or email address has been changed. You will also find a link Revert this change (o reset your password ) in case the password change is not authorized by you. Click on it to make your request.

Once submitted, Instagram's security team using an automated process asks you to verify your identity.

You will need to take a picture of yourself and be in possession of a sheet showing the handwritten code that Instagram sent you in the email. Also, you will need to specify which device you used for account registration (an iPhone, an Android phone, an iPad, etc.).

You will have to wait for the response from the security team and, once authenticated, you will receive an email informing you that your account has been restored as the rightful owner.

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Step 4: Make sure your Instagram isn't compromised again

While we cannot guarantee that your Instagram account will not be compromised again, following the tips below will make it very difficult for this to happen in the future.

Choose a stronger password

Instagram recommends that you use a password with at least six numbers, letters, and punctuation marks.

Make sure the password is at least 10 characters long, containing numbers, special characters, uppercase and lowercase letters. Most importantly, make sure your password is not connected to you. That way, it can't be guessed by looking at your publicly available information, such as your postcode or phone number.

Change your password regularly

It goes without saying that you should never share your password with anyone. But even if you create a strong password, there are still chances that a written copy of it will be found. It is also best to change your password every two months.

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Enable two-factor authentication

The best way to make sure your Instagram account is as secure as possible is to use two-factor authentication. This feature makes sure that no one outside of you can access your account.

Whenever you log into your Instagram account, it will send a one-time security code to your phone as a text message. Only after entering this code can you access your account.

To enable the two-factor authentication function, log in to Profile > Settings > Privacy and security > Two-factor authentication > Getting started guide.

On the next page, you can choose to get the code using a text message or an authenticator app. The method Text message it's easier to use, but it's not the safest. If someone logs into your phone or can detect your phone number, they can easily log into your Instagram account. Using an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Authy to generate a one-time code on the fly is safer.

Once you've chosen the method, tap the switch next to it. For the option Authenticator, Instagram will ask you to set it up using an app like Google Authenticator or any other authentication app you may have installed.

Don't let Instagram hackers win

If you have been hacked into Instagram, we hope this article helped you regain control of your account. And by following the simple advice above, you should prevent further forays into your Instagram account.

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Further Reading:

  • How to delete your Instagram account
  • How to schedule posts on Instagram
  • How to remove authorized apps on Instagram
  • How to temporarily disable your Instagram account
  • How to find people blocked on Instagram

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