Most people are pretty familiar with the various dangers of having a Facebook account. Thanks to massive data breaches and questionable internal practices, it’s always in the news. Instagram has taken a bit of a backseat in this, even though Facebook owns it as well. But Instagram also holds a lot of personal information. And thus, it’s vulnerable to privacy and cybersecurity threats.
Earlier this year, Instagram faced not one but two major cyber attacks. Cybercriminals hacked many Instagram accounts and stole users’ passwords. Individuals and businesses that had accounts on the platform now may have their data in the hands of nefarious cybercriminals. The consequences can be disastrous.
What’s stolen can’t be taken back, but anyone concerned about their digital safety should still secure their accounts. There are millions of cybercriminals out there. They all try to access valuable information. And Instagram, being one of the most popular social networks worldwide, has a target on its back. Are you worried yet? Follow these five easy steps to secure your Instagram account right now.
How to Secure an Instagram Account: Follow These Steps
1. Change Your Password
Preaching about strong passwords might be the most basic advice when it comes to digital security. But that doesn’t make it any less important. Until a better way comes along, everyone’s stuck with using passwords as their primary form of user authentication. So protecting passwords becomes crucial — especially since it is so easy to get them stolen. And yet, passwords are still a leading concern in cybersecurity.
The Instagram policy states that account passwords should be at least six characters long and combine letters, numbers, and symbols. But it’s good practice to make a password even longer and more complicated. Also, make sure to change it regularly and don’t reuse it on another account or platform.
2. Review Account Privacy Settings
Have a look at the privacy settings and search for potential red flags. A big concern is the “Apps and Websites” tab that shows linked third-party services. These are the websites that have access to your account. Remove them all or as many of them as possible. There’s also the option to make the account private, which is not the worst idea.
Finally, have a look at the “Login Activity” tab. Check which devices (and from where) are active / logged into your account. Remove the devices that you don’t use anymore. If there are any unauthorized logins, then remove them and change your password immediately.
3. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is an easy way to add an extra layer of security to any account. Most platforms support 2FA, including Instagram. Find the option in account settings and activate it by adding your phone number.
Now, whenever someone tries to log into the account from a new device, they will have to enter a code sent to your phone number. It keeps any potential hackers from getting access to the account so long as they don’t have access to the phone.
4. Log in With a Secure Device/Network
Digital security isn’t a jumble of isolated efforts and tools. It’s a connected and intentional practice that spans all devices and platforms. It includes securing the way you access online platforms in the first place, i.e., protecting the network connection.
Unsecure networks, like the WiFi in a coffee shop, for instance, are prone to man-in-the-middle attacks. Such attacks allow criminals to access everything sent over that connection, including any Instagram login details or account data.
The easiest way to secure the connection of your device (even if it’s connected to a public WiFi) is by using a VPN. When a VPN is on, your connection will go through the VPN server first, encrypting and protecting any data sent over the network.
5. Make Sure Your Email Account Stays Secure Too
Hackers have it easy to get into other accounts (including Instagram) when they have control of the connected email. Email security, therefore, is vital. If the email does get hacked, then change the login password right away. If that’s not possible, try to use secondary email, phone number, security questions, and other measures to recover your account.
Keeping track of all the possible ways that hackers can target their victims is a monumental task. But preparing for any potential attacks is now a necessity. Take a few minutes to set up some basic security features that will deter most attackers from finding their mark.