Like many other social media platforms, Instagram can be a double-edged sword. On one side, it would be a great way to share and express yourself, but on the other side, Instagram would be a privacy and security nightmare. Fortunately, there are some tips through which you can protect your Instagram security.
These are the essential steps to achieve Instagram security for your account and avoid getting hacked or having your private info exposed. Read on for detailed instructions and explanations about the risks of Instagram and see why it is important to get as much Instagram security as possible.
- Enable two factor authentication.
- Revoke access to third-party.
- Don’t allow access to your location.
- Keep your profile information private.
As with all things regarding cybersecurity, no plan is foolproof. So be aware that even if you implement these tips, you are still at risk of having your personal data fall into the wrong hands. However, by adjusting these settings in the Instagram app for Android or iPhone, you will dramatically lower your risks.
Tips to Improve Your Instagram Security
1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
If you are worried about someone potentially hacking your account and posting on Instagram without your authorization, setting up two-factor authentication is a must. It requires a second form of authentication after you enter your password, so even if a hacker has your password, they can’t access your account.
To set it up, navigate to Settings > Two-Factor Authentication and toggle Require Security Code to on. This will require you to enter a code sent to your phone each time you log into your account.
In the coming weeks, Instagram will also add support for authenticator apps. For now, to use this feature, your phone number must be connected to your account. But what if your phone is having connectivity issues and can’t receive an SMS security code? That’s where backup codes come in. Go to Settings > Two-Factor Authentication > Get Backup Codes, and use one of the displayed codes to log in.
2. Save Your Instagram Recovery Codes
Two- factor authentication requires you to have access to your either your SMS texts or your smartphone’s authentication app, depending on what you chose. But what happens if you have recently changed phone numbers or don’t have your smartphone on you? You can use recovery codes as a backup, as long as you thought ahead and saved them somewhere such as a password manager that you can still access.
You can do it through the following order:
Instagram >> Profile >> Menu >> Settings >> Privacy and Security >> Two-Factor Authentication >> Recovery Codes
To access the codes from your account, visit your “Two-Factor Authentication” settings on Instagram, then choose “Recovery Codes.” Screenshot them (which could be backed up online), copy them to a passwordmanager (like LastPass), or even jot them down on a piece of paper you keep in your wallet. However you choose to secure the codes, there will be five total, and each code can only be used once. When you have used up all the recovery codes, you can request a new set.
3. Control Who Sees Your Photos on Instagram
When you post to Instagram, anyone on the platform will be able to see your pictures and videos by default. If you only wish to interact with people you actually know, set your account to private via Settings > Account Privacy and toggle Private Account to on.
When your account is private, you’ll have to approve new followers before they can see your photos or videos. Only approved followers will be able to find your posts through search, see which posts you have liked, and send you direct messages. With a private account, Google also won’t index any of your photos to Google image search.
4. Use a Password Manager for Your Instagram Security
Your password is a main gatekeeper for preventing access to your account. Unfortunately so many users are protecting their account with a password that is easy to memorize, which has the unintended consequence of being an easier password to hack. Most users don’t know how to create strong passwords for their accounts.
Instead of relying on a memorized password, use a password manager to create one for you. Unlike something you create, the password manager is guaranteed to be as strong as needed since you can control the criteria it needs to abide by. Additionally, you can change your password easily (we recommend every 90 days) to ensure malicious hackers don’t have much time to guess your password.
Whether you are using iOS or Android, we recommend using LastPass Password Manager. Its low cost combined with a vast feature list is unmatched by any other manager in either app store.
5. Revoke Access to Third-Party Apps
Many third-party apps connect to Instagram but aren’t actually associated with the service. While they mostly seem harmless, they can compromise your privacy.
Services like Webstagram, Gramfeed, Instagreat, InstaGallery, InstaView, Flipboard, Statigram, Followgram, and Cityowls get indexed by Google, meaning your pictures can show up in Google image searches. They can also serve as another means for hackers to gain access to your account. To prevent this, revoke access to third-party access from a desktop computer. Just click the gear icon on your account profile to access the settings menu. Click Authorized Apps and you will be able to remove any you don’t want.
6. Turn Off Geotagging for Your Instagram Security
Most camera apps will tag your photos with coordinates that show where they were taken, and Instagram is no different. It’s a great way to recall previous adventures at specific locations, but with this metadata attached to your photos, unwanted individuals can easily learn your location.
It should be noted that Instagram strips all EXIF data from images you upload, so if you took the photo with your stock camera app or a different third-party camera, it won’t automatically send out its geolocation data to all of your followers. However, Instagram does read the geolocation data so that if you’d like to “Add Location” before sharing, it’ll help you find the appropriate place without hunting too hard.
To keep your current location out of other Instagram users’ hands, just don’t add a location on the final step before tapping “Share.” If you must, only add locations that won’t aid someone in tracking your current location or your daily routes, such as vacation spots from weeks ago.
Android: Android Settings >> Security & location >> Location >> See all >> App Name >> Permissions >> Location
iPhone: iOS Settings >> App Name >> Location >> Never
If you don’t want Instagram reading your geolocation, or if you don’t want Instagram to record your location when taking a photo inside the app, you can turn off geotagging for Instagram and each of the camera apps that you use. For stock Android, you can disable “Location” app permissions in the Settings app, but this may differ on non-stock Android. For iOS devices, locate the camera app’s “Location” permissions in Settings, and disable it.
7. Make Your Account Private
For maximum privacy, your account can’t be public. Any public account can be accessed by anyone, which can lead to your photos and videos being copied by catfishers and other malicious individuals. However, privacy does come at a cost. For example, for those creating brand awareness, anything that hinders individuals from discovering you will hurt your progress. For that reason, this tip is optional based on your needs.
Do as follows:
Instagram >> Profile >> Menu >> Settings >> Privacy & Security >> Account Privacy >> Private Account (On)
If you are an average Joe who uses the platform to connect with friends, go into your in-app settings, tap on “Account Privacy” in the “Privacy and Security” section, and turn on the toggle next to “Private Account.” Once enabled, only those who you approve can see your content. Your current followers will not be affected by your decision.
8. Temporarily Disable Your Account
You don’t need to delete your account to hide it from the world. Instead of permanently erasing your profile, just temporarily disable it. You can’t disable your account from the Instagram application, so you must use a mobile web browser.
Log in to the account settings, scroll down, and tap on “Temporarily disable my account.” Once your account is disabled, it will look like it is deleted. When you search for it, it will say that the page isn’t available or that the account is not found. To reactivate your account, just log back in online or in the mobile app.
9. Control Comments on Your Posts
Comments can quickly spiral out of control if you post something controversial, especially if your account is public. Trolls may come out in droves to leave nasty and offensive remarks on your photos and videos, but you can take action by controlling who can comment and what they can write.
You can follow this instruction for doing that:
Instagram >> Profile >> Menu >> Settings >> Privacy & Security >>
From the in-app settings, go to “Comment Controls” in the “Privacy and Security” section. Here you can manage who can comment on your posts (everyone, people you follow, your followers, or the latter two combined), block comments from certain users, and enable filters to hide offensive comments.
Instagram uses artificial intelligence to block comments it considers offensive. You can also add your own words or phrases to manually filter out comments. There’s also a filter to hide comments that contain words that are commonly reported on your posts.
10. Secure Payment Options to Protect Your Instagram Security
Facebook didn’t buy Instagram because Zuck likes pretty pictures. It bought it to make money. And one of the ways it makes money is by selling ads, which now include the options to purchase things directly from the post or story. To complete a purchase, though, you will need to hand over your credit card number.
If you choose to keep your credit card information on Instagram, you should enable a pin to prevent unauthorized individuals from going on a shopping spree. Navigate to Settings >> Payments and tap the Security tab to enter a four-digit code. You will then be required to enter this code each time you decide to use your linked card information.
Try to Use Instagram Wisely
Besides technological solutions, there are a few personal choices you can make to protect your private information when Instagramming on your phone.
First, remember that whatever you post (even with a private account) is accessible by other people. Don’t post pictures that you might regret later on in life — particularly ones you might be ashamed of later or pictures that reveal personal information. Always remember, anything that can be used against you will be used against you.
Second, be aware that your profile doesn’t need to be completely filled out. Don’t reveal to others information that isn’t needed. Despite whatever trust you may have with your followers, it only takes one person to make a decision that can impact your life.
Finally, use the block user feature. While in your “Followers” list, tap any user who you don’t know or is toxic and select the ellipsis (•••). In the pop-up, choose “Block” to disable access to your account.
See how to recover a hacked Instagram account.