Topic Data Protection

Instagram Security Matters: How to Protect Your Account and Personal Data

If you're concerned about your privacy and protecting your personal information, it's important not to neglect the security of your Instagram account. It holds many of your personal details — including phone numbers and email addresses, as well as cherished memories of you and your loved ones — and it should be just as secure as any other online service you use.

 

As for social media influencers, celebrities, or people who sell products in IG, the risk is even higher - they can lose subscribers, money, and business.

 

Because of its incredible popularity, Instagram is a target for hackers — and Instagram users have suffered data breaches in the past. Earlier this year, an attack on one social media startup, Socialarks, exposed the details of more than 11 million Instagram profiles. And back in 2019, a staggering 49 million users were affected by another Instagram data leak.

 

Once your Instagram account has been compromised, it may be used by hackers to obtain personal details, or to share malware and other malicious content with your followers. But there are steps you can take to make your account more secure, so that even if your login details end up in the wrong hands, your account itself is still accessible to no one else but you.

 

Pro tip: If you are not into checking all the security settings manually, you can use a third-party cybersecurity service such as Clario, that has the feature of Instagram account protection.

  1. Install Clario on your device — available for iOS, Mac, Android
  2. Go to Identity — Instagram protection and click Add account
  3. In a few seconds the app will check level of your Instagram profile protection and will give the report
  4. Click review and fix.
how to secure Instagram account with Clario

Stay fully protected! Clario will monitor you ongoing for the possible breaches. By the way, no commitment now - sign up for a free 7-day trial

 

In this guide, we'll cover all the things you can do to make your Instagram account more secure and step up your privacy.

Is Instagram safe and secure?

Instagram itself is a secure platform, so the chances of it being hacked are slim. However, the security of your account mostly depends on you — how well you protect your account and keep your login details safe. Beyond its default settings, Instagram offers a number of features — including two-factor authentication — that are designed to bolster account security.

 

When it comes to data collection, Instagram's privacy policies are similar to those of Facebook, since both platforms are owned by the same company — now called Meta. In other words, it is not exactly the most conservative when it comes to looking after your data. One study, conducted earlier this year, labeled Instagram one of the most "invasive" apps for data sharing.

 

Our report found that Instagram shares up to 79% of the personal user data that it collects. This not only includes the information you submit when joining Instagram, but also your interests and browsing history. The vast majority of that is then used to serve you personalized or "targeted" ads based on what Instagram thinks you like.

 

One thing to note about Instagram's official privacy policy is that it strictly states it does not sell — and never will — user data. It also says that Instagram imposes "strict restrictions" on how its partners can use and disclose the data it provides. But it does share your data with third parties — including advertisers, researchers, and law enforcement agencies — when it is deemed necessary.

How to secure your Instagram account

Whether you log in using a dedicated Instagram account, or by using Facebook, your Instagram profile is already secured with a password. But there are other steps you can take to make it more secure, and to ensure that even if someone else somehow manages to obtain your login details, they cannot gain access to your account.

 

Instagram offers a handy tool of its own called Security Checkup, which you can use to find out exactly how secure your account is, and to enable some additional protections. To use Security Checkup, follow these steps:

  1. Inside the Instagram app, tap the profile tab in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the menu bar in the top-right corner, then select Settings
  3. Select Security
  4. Tap Security Checkup
Go to Instagram settings

The Security Checkup provides some recommendations on how to make your Instagram account more secure — such as creating a stronger password and ensuring your email address is up to date — and includes handy links for enabling additional security features, including:

Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication or "2FA" adds an extra layer of security to your Instagram account by requiring you to enter a unique code, as well as your username and password, when logging into the app. It means that if someone else obtains your account password, they cannot gain access to your account because only you will have the login code. It's a great way to prevent hacking.

 

To enable 2FA for your Instagram account, follow these steps:

  1. Inside the Instagram app, tap the profile tab in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the menu bar in the top-right corner, then select Settings
  3. Select Security
  4. Tap Two-factor authentication, then tap Get Started
  5. Choose your authentication method — you can use an authentication app, such as Google Authenticator, or receive a text message
  6. Follow the on-screen prompts to continue the activation process
Turn on two-factor authentication for Instagram account

Revoke access to third-party apps

Over the years, you may have linked your Instagram account to third-party apps and services. These may be completely safe, but it's possible that some of them — especially if they're old and no longer active — could be insecure and should no longer have access to your Instagram account. Fortunately, it's easy to revoke access by following these steps:

  1. Inside the Instagram app, tap the profile tab in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the menu bar in the top-right corner, then select Settings
  3. Select Security
  4. Tap Apps and websites
Instagram security settings

Here, you'll find a list of the services you've previously given permission to access your Instagram account. There's no need to worry about those on the Expired or Removed lists; they've already had their access revoked. But it's important to check the Active list and remove any apps and services that should no longer have access to your Instagram account.

Check login activity

If you're worried your Instagram account may have already been compromised, you can check your login activity to find out when and how it was accessed. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Inside the Instagram app, tap the profile tab in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the menu bar in the top-right corner, then select Settings
  3. Select Security, then tap Login activity
Go to Instagram Login activity

Here, you'll find a list of all your logins — including their location and the device that's being used. If you see anything suspicious, or anything you don't recognize, here's what to do:

  1. Tap the three dots next to the device you don't recognize
  2. Tap Log out

Next, reset your password to ensure that whoever has gained access to your account is unable to login again in the future.

Find emails from Instagram

It's worth bearing in mind that whenever a new device logs into your Instagram account, or any of your settings are changed, Instagram will send you an email. Keep an eye on your email inbox for any of these messages, and ensure that they aren't going to your spam folder where you can't see them. This is one of the quickest ways to find out if your account has been compromised.

 

Always be sure, however, that any emails you receive from Instagram are genuine. Instagram will never ask you to log into your account or provide your login details, so if you get an email requesting these things, simply ignore it and delete it.

Block or report suspicious accounts

You'll want to steer well clear of suspicious accounts — particularly those trying to spread malicious links — on Instagram. They will often be set up to impersonate a high-profile individual — perhaps a celebrity — or may even be using the name and photos of someone you know. And they are typically used to spread malware and other viruses, or to try to steal personal information.

 

It's important to not only block but also report these accounts to Instagram, so that they can be investigated and removed. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the profile page of the account you want to block and report
  2. Tap the three dots in the top-right corner
  3. Tap Report, then choose Report Account
  4. Instagram will ask you why you are reporting the account; simply select the most appropriate option to continue
  5. Instagram will also ask if you want to block the account you're reporting; select Block
Report Account in Instagram

Use an anonymous email

Another tip that can help make your Instagram account more secure is to use an anonymous email address. This reduces the risk that someone who knows you — and knows your primary email address — will be able to access your account. It also helps ensure that even if your login details for other services are somehow stolen, your Instagram account is safe.

 

To use an anonymous email, you can either create a new email address through the likes of Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo that you use only for Instagram. Or, if you use an iPhone, you might want to take advantage of Apple's new Hide My Email feature in iOS 15, which is a part of iCloud+.

Step up your privacy

If it's your personal data, rather than the security of your account, that you're worried about, there are several things you can do to reduce your exposure on Instagram and make it more difficult for others — particularly those who don't know you — to see what you're up to.

Remove your phone number

By removing your phone number from your Instagram account, it makes it impossible for others to find your profile by searching your number. Here's how:

  1. Inside the Instagram app, tap the profile tab in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the menu bar in the top-right corner, then select Settings
  3. Select Account, then tap Personal information
  4. Tap on your phone number to delete it
Go to Instagram Settings and select Account

Note that by removing your phone number from your Instagram account, you won't be able to use it for two-factor authentication via text message. So, if you want to continue using 2FA — which we highly recommend — then you'll need to use a dedicated authentication app instead.

Unlink your Instagram from Facebook

You may also want to unlink your Instagram account from your Facebook account so that others are unable to find you that way. To do this, you'll need to follow these steps:

  1. Open the Facebook app
  2. Tap the Menu tab in the bottom-right, then select Settings & Privacy
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Accounts Center
  4. Tap your account, then tap it again
  5. Select your Instagram account, then tap Remove from Accounts Center
  6. Confirm by tapping Continue
Unlink Instagram account from Facebook

Protect your photos on Instagram

 

If you don't want others to see what you're up to, it's incredibly important that you make your Instagram account private, so that only those you approve can follow you and see your uploads. Fortunately, it's really simple to do that by following these steps:

  1. Inside the Instagram app, tap the profile tab in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the menu bar in the top-right corner, then select Settings
  3. Select Privacy
  4. Tap the toggle alongside Private account to make your account private
Go to Instagram privacy settings

Manage tags on photos and videos

In addition to making your own Instagram profile more secure, you may want to ensure that you cannot be tagged in photos and videos uploaded by others. To do this, you can set it so that all tags must be approved by you before they appear. Here's how:

  1. Inside the Instagram app, tap the profile tab in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the menu bar in the top-right corner, then select Settings
  3. Select Privacy, then tap Posts
  4. Under Tagged Posts, tap Manually Approve Tags
  5. Tap the toggle to enable Tag controls
Manage tags on photos and videos in Instagram settings

Manage comments

If you don't want to accept comments on your Instagram uploads, it's possible to block accounts from commenting — even if you have accepted them as followers. Here's how:

  1. Inside the Instagram app, tap the profile tab in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the menu bar in the top-right corner, then select Settings
  3. Select Privacy, then tap Comment Controls
  4. Tap Block Comments From, then search for and add the accounts you want to block
Blog Comments in Instagram settings

It's not necessary to block accounts that aren't following you if you have set your profile as private; they won't be able to comment anyway.

How to avoid getting hacked on Instagram by securing your mobile device

One of the simplest ways to prevent your Instagram account from being hacked is by ensuring that all devices that have access to it are secure. Ensure you have passcodes and other security measures — such as fingerprint locks or facial recognition — enabled on your smartphone and any other devices you use, so that even if they're lost or stolen, no one can gain access to them.

Try Clario for free

These are just a few of the many features Clario offers to keep you and your data safe. Besides covering your

Instagram, Clario provides 360 privacy protection:

  • get instant alert in case your SSN is leaked
  • enable 24/7 password breach monitoring
  • stay safe with powerful antivirus protection

Try it out for free by taking advantage of its 7-day, no commitment trial. Simply install Clario on your phone to get started.

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