Is 1 billion a large sum to imagine? Well, as of June 2018, that is precisely how many users Instagram reports having. Although even a gigantic number like 1 billion is not as many as Facebook – taking the lead with over 2 billion, Instagram is a goldmine of opportunity for hackers as it can mean big money!
Why Hack Instagram?
Hackers gravitate to the Instagram app for its popularity and ease of use – they can get in and out. Once they’ve compromised your account, hackers will promote products, redirect traffic, steal your private information, or even embarrass you by posting personal photographs!
One of the biggest finds that a hacker can get from Instagram is your password. Once they have your name and password, they can hack into more of your accounts eventually leading up to your credit card or bank information. This is how identity fraud starts and the results can be devastating.
How Do Instagram Accounts Get Hacked?
1. Public Wifi & Shared Computers
If you let anyone use your computer, they could hack into your accounts. The same is true for shared WiFi and hotspots. This can be done through fake WiFi, packet sniffing, and session hijacking (sidejacking).
You don’t have to be a computer expert to understand that the more access you give people to your data, the more opportunities hackers have to steal your information and use it malevolently! Use a secure private server and keep your hotspot password strong.
2. Website & App Vulnerability
Websites and apps aren’t perfect. Just as hackers look for loopholes daily, websites continually try to keep hackers out. The site or app only has to have a small data or computer ‘bug’ or vulnerability to allow hackers access. This happened to Instagram in 2017. Although the bug was fixed quickly, a massive amount of data was taken from users on the site.
The stolen data was then listed as ‘for sale’ on Bitcoin, at $10 per/record. This was called Doxagram and the information received was garnished from over 6 million users. According to Inc.com, some of those whose data was stolen were famous names including Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc.
3. Public Email Addresses & Phone Numbers
If someone has your email address and phone number, they are off to a good start. They may target you on social media or do a simple search of your name, to collect more information. If you can, regularly scan the internet and search your name, usernames, and phone number to see what information is public and viewable by anyone.
If you do see information that you want to stay private, switch your accounts to ‘private,’ block suspicious users, contact the site publishing the data, and take steps to delete your online information. To see what others can know about you, use Social Catfish:
4. Strong Passwords
Not only should you regularly change and update passwords, but your passwords should be strong and complex. Use numbers, upper/ lowercase letters, special characters, and pick passwords no one would guess. Do not trust calls, emails, or texts from Instagram, that ask you to reset your password. If you have any problems, go to Instagram and report the problem or ask for help.
Although you can’t control every factor, particularly those who happen behind the scenes on apps like Instagram, you can avoid unnecessary problems. Do this by securing your account and being smart about the information you share online. It’s never too late to start being safety savvy!