A report was published almost a year ago in Motherboard which indicated that a wave of users were losing access to their valuable Instagram accounts. Instagram is finally addressing this huge problem on its platform. It is said by the company that a series of changes has been made which will make it easier for people to regain access to a hacked account.
Instagram is an application which is owned by Facebook. It is mainly a free photo-sharing application. Instagram has the features for its user to upload photos and videos which is instantly shared with their followers. They can also apply various filters while uploading photos, add location tags, and insert hashtags that link their content to similar content across the platform. In 2012 Instagram introduced a feature called “Explore”. It is mainly a tab, which shows users popular posts from nearby locations, trending hashtags, and popular video channels.
Hacked Instagram account of Selena Gomez; Image Source: securityaffairs.co
Back in the end of 2018, many high profile Instagram users received the message “Your Instagram has been hacked”. “We will have to delete your account within 3 hours”, this message continued because the hacker insisted that the victim has to pay up a Bitcoin ransom. But even after paying the demanded amount to the hackers, the victims couldn’t get their account back.
Kevin Kreider is a fitness-focused Instagram influencer from Los Angeles. He was on of the victims back then. He told Motherboard that paying $100 in cryptocurrency didn’t save his account. The hackers still deleted it. As a consequence Kreider lost more than 100,000 followers and his well established social media focused business.
This page will arrive after “Need more help” is pressed; Image Source: www.theverge.com
Kreider shared his story of being hacked. Someone named ‘Lana’ emailed Kreider and offered a sponsorship deal. The person also provided a link to Instagram account. That link did not actually redirected to a real Instagram page. It actually redirected to a fake Instagram login portal designed to steal a target’s credentials. This is how his Instagram got hijacked.
Kreider was not the only person to fall victim to these hackers. The hackers have hijacked multiple targeted accounts of people who use Instagram for business. It was reported that Instagram was not quite helpful for helping some of the victims. Even on of the victims wrote on her personal website, :Instagram doesn’t care”. After becoming frustrated with the company’s lack of customer support, hacked victims even turned to third-party white-hat hackers to help them recover access to their Instagram. “We know that losing access to your account can be a distressing experience. We have measures in place to stop accounts from being hacked in the first place, as well as measures to help people recover their accounts. But we heard from the community that these measures aren’t enough, and people are struggling to regain access to their accounts,” an Instagram spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Motherboard .
A code will be sent after giving email address; Image Source: www.theverge.com
In the new mechanism, when a person is unable to login to an account, it is required to click the “Need more help” option on the login page. It will prompt a page where you’ll be asked to enter the email address or phone number linked to your account or the ones used when you signed up to Instagram before hacking. After entering necessary information, Instagram will then send a six digit code which will allow you to regain access to the account.
After regaining hacked account, confirming Email and Phone Number is must; Image Source: www.theverge.com
In some cases it has been noticed that the hacker sometimes also has access to the victim’s email account or is in control of their phone number, as well. Keeping that in mind, Instagram has also taken an action. When you re-gain access to your account, it will be ensured that the hacker cannot use codes sent to your email address or phone number to access your account from a different device.
Changes will also be done to ensure that you could recover your account even if an intruder has changed the user name. To do so, Instagram is offering a safeguard that ensures that a user name can’t be claimed for a “period of time” after any kind of change in the account, whether it’s a hack or a voluntary change.
It is not expected that these changes will put a stop to hacking attempts but it will definitely make life more difficult to hack accounts. Even if it’s hacked, victims will have more power and will also find it easier to get back their access.
Feature Image Source: dazeinfo.com