Having your Instagram hacked can feel like a digital nightmare come to life. You’ve lost control of your account, your personal information is at risk, and your digital identity has been hijacked. It’s a distressing scenario that, unfortunately, isn’t as uncommon as you might think.
According to a report by Keeper (a secure password manager), there were more than a million account takeovers on social media networks. (When???) Most of them occurred on Instagram.
Hacked Instagram account: the importance of taking action immediately
If you suspect that your Instagram account has been hacked, it’s crucial to take action as quickly as possible. You may not think that it’s a big deal, especially if you don’t use Instagram often. However, hackers can cause significant damage, even if you only use Instagram to keep in touch with friends and family.
Here are some potential consequences of having your Instagram account hacked:
- Your personal information may be compromised: hackers can access and steal sensitive information like your name, email address, phone number, and even credit card details (if you have them linked to your account). This information can be used for identity theft and fraud.
- Your reputation may be damaged: hackers can post inappropriate content on your behalf, such as spam or offensive images. This can damage your personal or professional reputation and potentially harm relationships with your followers.
- Your account could be used to scam others: a hacked Instagram account can be used to send phishing messages or other scams to your followers. This can damage trust with your friends and family.
- Your account could be deleted: In some cases, getting your Instagram hacked can result in your account being deleted. This means losing all your photos, videos and followers, which can be distressing for both personal and business reasons.
How do Instagram accounts get hacked?
Now that we’ve established that having your Instagram hacked is a serious issue, let’s look at how these hacks actually occur. There are several ways in which your Instagram account can be hacked.
The most common method is through phishing. In this scenario, you might receive an email or message that looks as if it’s from Instagram. The message might claim that your Instagram got hacked and direct you to a link where you’re asked to input your login details. This phishing link, however, is a trap set by hackers to steal your login credentials.
Below is an example of how such an email may look:
Remember that Instagram will never ask you to do anything outside the app. If you ever receive such a message, do not click on any links or enter any information. Instead, go directly to the official Instagram app or website and check for any security notices.
Another method that hackers use is known as a “brute force attack”. This is where they use software to guess your password by trying thousands of combinations until they find the right one. If your password is simple and common, it’s easier for these tools to crack it.
Third-party apps can also pose a risk. If you’ve given access to an app or website that isn’t trustworthy, they might misuse your login details. Always research third-party apps before linking them to your Instagram account, and regularly review the apps that have access to your account.
Finally, your Instagram can get hacked if your email account is compromised. Since your email is often the key to resetting your Instagram password, a hacker with access to your email can easily take control of your Instagram account. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that your email account is as secure as possible.
How to know if your Instagram is hacked?
Recognizing that your Instagram account has been hacked is the first step towards recovery. Here are some signs to look for:
- Unexpected Activity: If you notice posts, likes, comments, or follows that you don’t remember initiating, this could be a sign that your account has been hacked.
- Changed Account Information: If your username, email, or password has been changed without your knowledge, it’s likely that your account has been compromised.
- Emails from Instagram: If you receive emails from Instagram about changes to your account that you didn’t make, it’s possible that your account has been hacked. Always check the sender of these emails and never click on any links if you’re suspicious.
- Logins from Unknown Locations: Instagram sends a notification whenever your account is logged into from a new device or location. If you receive such a notification and it’s not you who logged in, your account may be at risk.
- Unable to Login: If you’re unable to log in to your account despite entering the correct credentials, it’s possible that a hacker has changed your password and taken over your account.
In the event that you notice any of these signs, such as suspicious activity or unauthorized access to your account, it is crucial to take immediate action. By responding promptly, you increase your chances of recovering your account and minimizing any potential damage or loss of sensitive information.
Signs your Instagram account is hacked by someone you know
Unfortunately, sometimes the person who has hacked your Instagram account could be someone you know. This is often done by someone with a grudge or malicious intent towards you.
For example, a former friend or partner who has access to your login credentials may use them to compromise your account. Signs that this could be the case include:
- Inappropriate Posts or Messages: If you notice posts, comments, or messages that seem personal or directed towards you, it’s possible that someone you know has hacked into your account.
- Deleted Posts and Messages: If you notice that posts or messages have been deleted without your knowledge, someone with access to your account may be trying to cover their tracks.
- Changed Profile Information: If your profile information, such as bio or profile picture, has been changed without your consent, it’s a sign that someone else is controlling your account.
If you suspect that someone you know has hacked into your Instagram account, it’s important to take action quickly and involve the necessary authorities. Keep track of any suspicious activity and gather evidence to support your claim. It may also be helpful to change your login credentials as soon as possible.
What to do if your Instagram gets hacked?
Let’s say you’ve determined that your Instagram account has indeed been hacked. What steps should you take to regain control and minimize any potential damage? We recommend the following:
- Change your password: This is the first step you should take. If you are using mobile app, go to Settings and Privacy > Account Center > Password and security > Change password.
Change your password to something complex and unique that has not been used on any of your other online accounts. If you need help with this, check our guide on how to create strong passwords.
- Check your email address: Ensure that the email address associated with your Instagram account has not been changed. If it has, revert to your original email address.
Firstly, go to Settings and privacy > Accounts Center > Personal details, there you will see you active email address and phone number.
- Revoke access to suspicious apps: If you’ve given access to third-party apps, ensure that they are legitimate. If unsure, revoke their access to your account, immediately. You can do this from the “apps and websites” section of the settings page.
- Set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA for an extra layer of security. This means that even if someone knows your password, they won’t be able to access your account without the 2FA code sent to your phone. You can do this from the “Password and security” section (where you changed your password).
- Check your connected accounts: Instagram allows you to sign in via other platforms like Facebook. Check these platforms to ensure they are secure and haven’t been compromised. You can do this from the settings page, under “Connected experiences.”
How to recover hacked Instagram account?
Now that you’ve taken the necessary steps to secure your account, it’s time to regain control and recover your hacked Instagram. The first thing that you need to do is report the incident to Instagram’s support team. That way, they can investigate the issue and help you regain access to your account.
How to report a hacked Instagram account
- Go to the Instagram support page for hacked accounts.
- Select “My account was hacked.” This will take you to a page with further steps and information on how to recover your account.
- Fill out the form: you’ll be asked to provide information such as your username, email address, and any evidence of the hack. Fill out this form carefully and accurately.
- Submit the form: once completed, submit the form and wait for Instagram to respond.
It may take some time for Instagram to investigate and recover your account. In the meantime, continue to monitor any suspicious activity on your account and be cautious with any emails or messages claiming to be from Instagram.
Remember, it’s important to act quickly and report any signs of a hacked account. Also, we recommend checking out our dedicated guide on how to protect Instagram account. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than a cure! So, take proactive measures to secure your Instagram account and avoid falling victim to hackers.
Can I recover a hacked Instagram account?
Yes, you can. Report the incident to Instagram’s support team via their Help Center page for hacked accounts. They will assist you in the recovery process. It may take some time, but it should be possible to regain access to your account.
What are the signs that my Instagram is hacked?
There are many signs that your Instagram account has been hacked, but some of the most common include inappropriate posts or messages, deleted posts and messages, and changed profile information. If you notice any suspicious activity, it’s important to take action quickly.
How do hackers get passwords?
Often, it’s just a simple case of trial-and-error. Hackers may use automated programs to try different combinations of usernames and passwords until they find one that works. They may also use phishing scams or social engineering techniques to trick users into giving away their login credentials.