Are you photogenic? You probably are on Instagram, maybe you have a great following which is why you should be concerned to secure Instagram account of yours. Instagram is one of the most popular social networking sites with over a half a billion active users from all over the world.
It is a fun way to share your best photo moments with friends and acquaintances. The platform also allows you to link your other social sites such as twitter and Facebook, which is a great way to stay in touch.
Unfortunately, most people tend to take their privacy so causally when it comes to social networking sites. Maybe you recall how wired editor Mat Honan Instagram account got hacked in 2013.
Last year hackers leaked Jennifer Lawrence ‘deleted’ nude photos after hacking her iCloud account. A few days ago, a hyped Kenyan Socialite, Vera Sindika Instagram account got hacked and her private messages leaked on twitter by notorious. While the few cases above may seem to target only high profile people, the reality is no one is safe from cyber threats.
You should be very scared when an Instagram account is hacked because yours could be next on the line. Cyberattacks will always be there but you can reduce the likelihood of being hacked by avoiding unnecessary information overload on your social accounts.
For instance, why would you share your contacts details, home address and life history with a bunch of strangers on Instagram, twitter or Facebook? Absolutely, not!
Why secure your Instagram Account?
- To protect personal information – Your personal information is meant to be private and should not be on Instagram in the first place. Unfortunately, sometimes we end up sharing too much private data on Instagram which is why you should shield your Instagram account.
- To avoid picture stealing – The last thing you would wish in life is to have your Photo-shopped Instagram picture making rounds in social media superimposed with funny text or captions. Prevent crooks from stealing your pictures by securing your Instagram account.
- To avoid phishing attacks – Instagram is a good phishing ground for scammers. Some of them pose as your friends but all they want is to squeeze out some private information, which they later use in targeted phishing attacks.
- To avoid Identity theft crimes – Identity crimes involves somebody impersonating you in computer crime frauds either by using your hacked account or creating a copycat account that have all your details.
Tips to secure Instagram account
- Use a strong Password: A strong password is your first line of defense against cyber crooks. Avoid using obvious guessable passwords such as 123456, username, password and other commonly used passwords. To check the strength of your current password, go to how Secure is My Password (or any similar tool) and see how fast one could crack your password. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special keys to come with strong and unique passwords.
- Use a password Manager: Making use of a password management application such as LastPass or 1password is a smart way to secure your Instagram account. A good password manager will help you generate a strong password that is easy to remember and accepted in all sites. It will also remind you to regularly change your passwords and retrieve forgotten passwords hassle free.
- Ensure your Primary email account is secure: The easiest way to hack into someone’s social media account is by first hacking their primary email address, then hacking into other accounts linked to it. Ensure your primary email account is secured with a 2-factor authentication process. Remember to use a strong (combination of words, numbers and special characters/symbols) password as we discusses above.
- Log out of Instagram on shared devices: Sometimes you may be tempted to update your Instagram using your friend’s PC or using a shared computer maybe at school or at work. Remember to log out of your Instagram account and do not save your password on the browser, anywhere.
- Avoid third party Instagram applications: Although third party Instagram Apps offer great features, always stick to the official Instagram App for android and iPhones. Most third party apps are marred with numerous vulnerabilities that risk the security of your Instagram account. Some of the third party apps also collect too much unnecessarily personal information that jeopardize your online privacy.
- Deny Third party Apps access to Instagram: Some third party apps requests permission to access your Instagram and post on your behalf. Deny such Apps access to your Instagram account unless extremely necessary. Some of them have vulnerabilities that will jeopardize the security of your Instagram account.
- Keep Personal Information Private: Information such as your cell phone number, home address, social security, employment details are not meant to be shared on public sites. Avoid giving out too much private data on your profile. Such information can be used in phishing attacks or Identity theft crimes.
- Block suspicious followers you don’t know: Apparently, it is hard to personally know all your Instagram followers, but you can identify and block those who are up to no good. Watch out for attention seeking followers constantly posting inappropriate comments on your photos or looking for ways to start a private chat. Some of them could be online scammers.
- Configure your Privacy Settings: Instagram has powerful customization that enables you to control your privacy on the site. Configure your privacy setting to tighten your grip on the amount of private information you broadcast on Instagram.
- Avoid clicking shortened URLs on Instagram: Some of the shorted URL’s are ridden with malware designed to steal your login credentials. Ensure you check the contents of the URL using tools like shortURL checker before clicking on the link.
- Never Reveal your Location: A smart way to stay out of harm’s way on Instagram is to turn off the location feature. Avoid mentioning where you took the photo and do not allow Instagram to use your location to customize your experience: Also, do not upload photos that capture details such as street address which could be used to tell your real location.
- Manually approve all photo tagging: Imagine being tagged in an embarrassing photo you wouldn’t want your family or friends to see. Avoid such situations by adjusting your Instagram tagging options to give you a chance to manually approve all photo tagging. Go to your Instagram and access the Photo of you, Click on the menu button and select the option add photos manually.
In a nutshell, shielding your Instagram Account starts with having a strong password and more importantly keeping your private information to yourself. Like we always say, the web is a potentially dangerous place and it’s the last place you would trust anybody with your private information. Vulnerabilities on the web are inevitable but most of them are created through careless mistakes that could be avoided.
In this article we have discussed a few practical tips that would help you solve more than half of the security pitfalls on Instagram. Please lets us know on the comment section, if you feel we have left out an important tip that could have made on the list. Also, read more on how to secure your privacy on a highly censored web so that you cover extra mile to protect yourself.