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Instagram will make it easier to recover your password if your account is ever hacked

Published Jun 17th, 2019 7:31AM EDT
Instagram Account Hacked
Image: Koen van Weel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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Whether they’re attempting to steal your Instagram account to sell it back to you for Bitcoin, or whether they have different plans with it, hackers are more and more interested in gaining access to Instagram properties. A process of recovering access to a hacked account does exist but doesn’t always work, so Instagram has announced several extra security measures to help you get it back even when the hackers also control your email.

Instagram on Monday announced it’s testing the new security features, Motherboard reports. Several months earlier, the same blog explained that Instagram suffered from an influencer-hacking problem. Attackers would gain access to an Instagram profile after sending a phishing email from a brand looking to sponsor the target. Once inside the account, the hackers changed the password, asking for a payment in Bitcoin to return access to the user.

Instagram’s first new feature “will make it easier for you to sign in and reclaim your account if it has been hacked,” a spokesperson told Motherboard.

After asking for help, users will be asked to enter the email address or phone number linked to the account, or the ones used when they first signed up for the service. Instagram will then send a six-digit code to users to allow them to regain access to the account.

Even if hackers can intercept emails or text messages, they won’t be able to stop you just because they learned the six digit code. That’s because Instagram will make sure that hackers can’t use it on a different device than the one you just used to ask for help.

The process will work even if the attacker changed the account name, which is especially useful if you happen to own a sought-after handle that would sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Moreover, if a hacker changed your handle, it doesn’t mean that he or she can sign up for a new Instagram account under your previous alias. That’s because your original username will be safe for some time after any account changes, which means it can’t be claimed by anyone else in the process.

“With this feature, we give the account holder the security of knowing that their username will not be available to be claimed by someone else for a period of time following any changes,” the spokesperson said. The feature will be available on Android and then iPhone.

That doesn’t mean hackers won’t be able to steal your Instagram logins. But if they do you’ll have an easier time recovering your data. Also, if your Instagram account has been breached, you might want to secure your email linked with it too, and possibly change passwords across your other online properties.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.