Why would someone want to target your Instagram account? You share what you ate, maybe the books you read, the shoes you bought, or that cool image of the sky above. How is that going to help a hacker? Read on to learn more.
OK. Your obvious love of chicken and waffles is not going to mean a lot to a cybercriminal, not unless your password is “chicknwaffles.” But there are people who make a living from Instagram. Influencers can make millions by posting a pic of their latest smoothie or the new pair of socks they love. Their IG accounts are their business. A hacker gaining access could destroy an influencer’s reputation, their livelihood.
Then, there is you, the “average” IG user. Yes, the cybercriminal might still target your Instagram account. For one, they might use your IG handle to reach out to your friends and say, “I’m stuck overseas. I need some money.” Caring friends, not knowing it is not you, could end up a victim of a scam.
How to Protect Your Instagram Account
#1 Go Private
Instagram lets individuals, influencers, and businesses show creativity. However, you want to control who sees what you post. You may not want everyone to see your photos. Limit your content visibility to friends and family in the Instagram profile window:
· Click on the three dots in the right corner.
· Scroll to the bottom of the options.
· Turn on the Private account setting (the button should turn blue).
You can also block followers you do not know. Click on your Followers list and tap on the users you do not recognize. Tap on the menu button and choose “Block User.”
#2 Disable cross-app sign-ins
Using your IG account to sign into other applications is convenient, because you have to remember only your IG access credentials. Still, by streamlining your sign-in you are also making it easier for a hacker to compromise your accounts. Now, they can get access to one account and use that as a way into the other connected accounts.
Log in to your account and review all connected applications. You can do this by visiting the Authorized Applications tap under the Edit Profile tab.
#3 Turn off location services
Instagram’s location services can let you check in at a particular place. But by doing this, you are giving thieves extra information they can use against you. Instead, go into your phone’s Privacy settings and turn off location services for IG.
You also do not want to cue criminals that you are away for a vacation with posts from the beach. You might want to share that sunny sand pic. Then, you regret it when you come home to a burgled home.
#4 Enable two-factor authentication
Of course, the starting point is to pick a strong, unique password for your Instagram account, but Instagram has added two-factor authentication for an added layer of security.
In Instagram’s mobile app you click on the Options icon at the top right to get to a menu
offering this option. You will get a short link to click on. Do so and turn on the two-factor authentication. You will set it up using your mobile phone. Then, in the future, you will have to log in with the added security of a unique code sent to your phone via text message.
#5 Review your login activity
Keep an eye out for illicit use of your account by reviewing Login Activity. This is under Settings on the desktop app and shows a list of locations from which you have logged in. So, if you have never been to Thailand, but your IG account has, that would be a red flag. If you do spot locations you do not recognize, log out from your device, and change your password.