Image: Bloomberg

A couple days ago, six million Instagram accounts were exposed online after one or a group of hackers created a dark web database of personal information, revealing private phone numbers and email addresses.

Instagram’s security hack was massive as the UK security researchers discovered hundreds of contact details on the dark web of celebrities including Emma Watson, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

The reason of the hack was a flaw in the password reset option in the Instagram’s old mobile app, which exposed mobile phone numbers and email addresses, but not passwords. The attack was simple as it only involved sending a request for a password reset to an account and intercepting the private phone and email details sent in response to the security query.

Given the malicious attempts and hacks, we are sharing with you the ways to protect yourself on Instagram.

How to pick a strong password

• Don’t ever re-use your passwords.

• Combine upper and lower case passwords with numbers, but don’t use it to alter a memorable word, like M4raD0na, which are are more easily cracked.

• Use long but memorable passphrase, which should be easy to remember but difficult for anyone to crack.

• Never forget to turn on the two-factor authentication to protect yourself. 2FA sends a text with a code to your device to verify your log-in.

How to protect yourself on Instagram

Since the hack, Instagram has offered its official advice on how to protect yourself and what to do if your account has been affected. Instagram asked users to exercise additional caution if they receive any emails or calls from suspicious sources.

“Additionally, we’re encouraging you to report any unusual activity through our reporting tools,” Instagram said. “You can access those tools by tapping the “…” menu from your profile, selecting ‘Report a Problem’ and then ‘Spam or Abuse.'”

Instagram has a dedicated page which offers advice on how to keep accounts protected on the platform and what to do if account has been hacked.

How to turn on two-factor authentication on Instagram

→ Click on the three-dot icon in the top right corner of your profile
→ Scroll down and select “two-factor authentication”
→ Tap “require security code”
→ You will be asked to add a phone number

After your turn on 2FA, a code will be sent to your phone number every time you to log into your account. While this practice keeps an account safe from hackers, the latest attack that included user phone numbers, shows not all the data is safe when stored online.

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