How to Secure Your Instagram Account

Instagram is the most popular image-sharing service on the internet right now. With over 1 billion people using the site, your account and the larger platform are often the targets of hackers or scammers.

The following steps should help you keep your Instagram account safe.

Turn on Instagram 2FA

Instagram - 2FA
Two-Factor Authentication is your first line of defense against hackers and scammers. | Source: Hacked/W.S.Worrall

Two-Factor Authentication is an important part of your account’s defense against hackers. It requires the user to have access to a certain app or phone number every time they log in. While it can be inconvenient, it’s also a relatively strong security feature for keeping your accounts and data safe.

On the Instagram app, go to your Settings, then tap ‘Security’ and ‘Two-factor authentication.’ There are then simple instructions to follow to help set up your choice of 2FA method.

Be advised: If you are going to use an app instead of your phone number as the 2FA option, then you must ensure you keep backup codes or that you use Authy, the authenticator app, with a cloud backup. If you lose your phone without a backup of your 2FA-codes to log in, you’ll lose access to your account.

Use a Strong and Unique Password

Norton Password Generator
Norton’s Password Generator is a great way of coming up with a strong password.

While 2FA provides a decent layer of protection, you should not neglect your password. Reusing an old password, or creating a new weak password, is a terrible idea. Passwords you’ve used on old, inactive accounts could become compromised and lead to your current accounts being hacked. Using a weak password makes it more likely for scammers to guess or steal it.

To make a strong password, you should be sure to use a password generator. Some security companies, such as Norton, offer these generators free to the public. If you’re worried about remembering a bunch of new passwords, you can use a password manager. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox both offer free password managers, while paid services offered by Norton and DashLane can be installed on various mobile devices.

For more advice when creating your password, check our guide to common password mistakes.

Manage Instagram Privacy Settings

Instagram - Privacy Settings
Properly managing your privacy options is an important part of keeping your Instagram account safe. | Source: Instagram

Instagram provides a suite of privacy settings that allow you to manage who sees and interacts with your account. Back in your settings menu, tap on the option for ‘Privacy’ to go to your privacy menu. From here, you can select accounts to restrict or block completely from viewing your profile.

The safest option is to make your account completely private, but this can restrict your ability to gain followers or interact with other accounts. You should, at least, carefully manage who can see specific comments and posts.

Be Careful With Your Posts

Instagram - Picture
Pictures like this should be carefully checked before uploading to make sure you’re not revealing your data unwittingly. | Source: Hacked/W.S.Worrall

Arguably the most important and least thought-about factor with Instagram security is the pictures you upload. When uploading to Instagram, you should be sure to check the image you’re uploading for background details. Letters containing your address or bank cards left carelessly in-frame could let hackers get their hands on these details. The more details a hacker or scammer has, the easier they’ll find breaking into your account.

It would help if you also were wary of geotagging your posts. If you take photos at home and tag them with your location, scammers may be able to figure out your location. Not only would this lead strangers to where you live, but it’s another method of gaining your address for breaking into your account.

 

If you’re worried about your Instagram account’s security, you can order a security audit here.

 

Featured image from REUTERS/Dado Ruvic.

Author:
A gaming and technology writer who has been building computers and tinkering with software since he was a teenager. Previously involved with various prestigious websites, including TechRaptor.net and CCN.COM