Instagram account hacked - what to do?

Instagram accounts are often hacked. There are different types of attacks, which may also extend to the email accounts linked to Instagram. First, try to change your Instagram password and, if necessary, change the email address you have on file with Instagram. If neither of these options works, you will need to contact Instagram support.

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Quick guide: Instagram account hacked

  1. Check email account to see if you received an Instagram notification about changing your Instagram password (if you didn’t do it yourself).
  2. Reverse password change via the link in the email if necessary.
  3. Change Instagram password yourself.
  4. Check email account to see if it may have been hacked and secure with new password if necessary.
  5. Change your Instagram email address.
  6. If logging in to Instagram is no longer possible, contact Instagram support via “Change password” and “Need more help?”.

Why is Instagram a popular target for hackers?

Instagram is currently one of the most popular social media platforms. Over a billion active users share photos on their profiles and in their stories. In some cases, Instagram is also used as a source of income: People who have many Instagram followers now often earn money with advertising as influencers. The many very private photos posted on Instagram also make the platform a popular target for hack attacks.

Signs of a hacked Instagram account

It is not difficult to determine if an Instagram account has been compromised. A first indication of a hack attack is pictures or comments that are not yours. A hacker may also upload a new Instagram profile picture. If the Instagram account is hacked and locked, so you can no longer log in, it is reasonable to assume that the attackers have changed your credentials. In the worst case, the hackers can also delete your Instagram account.

How can an Instagram account be hacked?

Instagram accounts can be compromised in two different ways. In the first case, your account is hacked directly through Instagram. The hacker finds out your credentials and then logs into your account with them. In the second case, the hacker uses your email address as a gateway. Once the attacker has hacked your email account, they can set a new password for Instagram and subsequently change the email address stored on Instagram. This way, you will no longer have access to your account at all.

There are different methods that the attackers use to get your login credentials for Instagram or for your email account. The most widespread are so-called phishing mails, in which the hackers pretend to be another sender and thus try to obtain sensitive data. So-called session hijacking is also a popular method of stealing access data for various Internet accounts. Here, the attackers tap into public and usually poorly protected WiFi networks’ cookies in which login data is stored.

Tip

Not only your Instagram account can be hacked this way. If you suspect that your Facebook account has also been hacked or that attackers have compromised your Twitter account, you can find instructions on how to get their accounts back in the IONOS Digital Guide.

Here’s how to get your hacked Instagram account back.

Depending on the way their Instagram accounts was compromised, the procedure to get back a secure Instagram account differs.

Case 1: Only Instagram has been hacked

If you find that only your Instagram account has been hacked, first set a new, secure password. If the attacker has already changed your password, logging in with your old credentials is no longer possible. In this case, you will have received an email from Instagram informing you of the password change. This email contains a link that can be used to undo the password change. You will also receive a link like this if the email address is changed by the attacker. Follow the instructions in the email from Instagram.

After that, it is important that you check your login history on Instagram. To do this, select the Instagram settings and click on “Security” -> “Login activity”. If a device in the list seems unfamiliar, select the three dots next to the device name and click “Logout”.

Case 2: The Instagram account and the email account have been hacked.

If you no longer have access to your email account, first check yourself whether your email account has been hacked.

If you still have access to your Instagram account, follow the instructions for case 1. Additionally, change the email address you have on file with Instagram in the Instagram settings under “Account” -> “Personal Information”. This way, your Instagram account is secured for the time being. However, it is especially important that you also secure your email account again. Because if the hacker still has access to your email address, they can undo the changes you made in the Instagram settings. To do this, all they have to do is click a link that Instagram sends to your hacked email address. As a result, they can set a new Instagram email address and you will no longer be able to log in to Instagram.

If that happens, follow in the instructions for case 1 above, where you no longer have access to your Instagram account.

Tip

You can create your own email address. This is virus and spam protected and therefore very secure.

Contact Instagram Support

If you can’t access your email address or Instagram account, select “Forgot password?” on the Instagram login page. After entering your username, select the “Need more help?” button in case you no longer have access to your email address. You will get the option to send a support request directly to Instagram support.

Describe your problem and be sure to include an email address that you have access to. Instagram will then take care of your request and send you instructions to the new email address to confirm your identity. Afterwards, you will get full access to your Instagram account again.

Tip

After you regain access to your Instagram account, be sure to activate Instagram’s two-factor authentication under “Settings” -> “Security” -> “Two-step authentication”. You can then use a separate app on your smartphone or SMS to monitor logins on unknown devices using generated codes.


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