Instagram is a great app, but needs some fine tuning from your side in order to be optimally cyber secure. What does being cyber secure mean, though? Well, for the average person this is probably associated with some form of security -which is true. What the average person -someone that doesn’t dabble in advanced cybersecurity- needs to know is that you are not safe online if you don’t properly set up your device, system, and your apps. Particularly, since social media is so popular and so huge, it is a great benefit to all to talk about adjusting your Instagram privacy and security settings.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where data breaches, identity theft, scams, and malware incidents have made it to practically every platform out there. Trillions of dollars have been lost to digital crime, and your data could be at risk. Tens of thousands of websites are hacked every day, while over 20% of Americans have had their financial information stolen, and 30% of them were affected by cybersecurity incidents such as data breaches last year.

Cybercrime Affecting Facebook Group

Instagram itself is owned by the Facebook group, which is constantly targeted by cybercriminals. Facebook group, like several other platforms, has used Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud server solutions to store the infinite amount of user-profiles and media for social platforms like Instagram. As a result, Instagram has suffered personal data breaches whenever AWS is breached, which means that the data of tens of millions of users can be and has been exposed. Instagram data was scraped several times including data of random users as well as crafted attacks that hacked celebrity profiles.

These numbers are only going up, particularly when it comes to mobile devices. When it comes to a platform like Instagram, one of the biggest digital platforms on Earth, people must be aware of the dangers and help others in securing their accounts with the information below.

Your Instagram Settings

This next section takes a look at the security settings and potentially risky scenarios that can endanger your private information on Instagram.

Signs Your Instagram Account Has Been Jeopardized

There are some simple ways with which you can identify any suspicious activity on your Instagram account. First of all, locate the following via the ‘Security’ tab in your ‘Settings’ area where you will find;

• Password

• Login activity

• Saved login information

• Two-factor authentication

• Emails from Instagram

• Access data

• Download data

• Apps and websites

• Search history

The above list is exactly as it appears in the Instagram app, and it is worth exploring each sub-category. Next, consider the following steps relating to your cybersecurity;

• Pay attention to your messages, particularly the sent messages and inbox section to see if there is activity there that hasn’t been conducted by you

• Pay attention to uploads and followers you haven’t approved

• Pay attention to your ‘past Instagram activity’

• Pay attention to communication from Instagram such as emails in your inbox that point to unusual changes you did not approve of

• Pay attention to your login activity, which tells you where you are logged in currently, and other login information

Cybersecurity Best Practices For Instagram

If you have used the above tips to confirm a breach of your Instagram account, then you must immediately reach out to Instagram support to report an incident under ‘Stolen account’ or otherwise. Secondly, immediately change your password once you have reported the problem to Instagram.

As far as keeping a good general standard of safety on Instagram, the following steps will help immeasurably. Passing on these steps to others will also benefit the community;

• Make sure to use the two-factor authentication option in your security settings

• Change your Instagram password as often as possible, and make sure it is long and includes complex characters. Never use the same password on multiple accounts

• Utilize the ‘Account Recovery’ section which will allow you to write down a special code in case you are locked out or lose your device

• Cross-check whether the email you have received from Instagram is real by checking the ‘Emails from Instagram’ section of your security settings

• Also regularly change your email account’s password (s) and set up two-factor or multi-factor authentication there as well to close any security loopholes

• Be careful when paying for Instagram followers, as this can be a risky investment and lead to your account being hacked

• Opt for a ‘Private Account’ in the ‘Privacy’ settings which will give you control of who follows. A private account also blocks Google from indexing your photos via Google Images

• Use the ‘Inspect Account’ feature by tapping the three-dot option to inspect the legitimacy of any account you wish

• Revoke access to any apps that you don’t want, especially old or expired ones, in the ‘Apps and Websites’ section of the ‘Security Settings’

• Use a premium VPN or Virtual Private Network at all times before you start browsing the internet. A VPN adds a heavy layer of encryption and location obfuscation that protects the source of information, which is your internet connection itself.