Here’s how to secure your Instagram account against cyber thieves
Q: Is there a way to back up my Instagram account that I use for my business just in case something happens?
A: The popularity of Instagram has grown to the point that cyber thieves are increasingly focused on compromising accounts to take them over and demand a ransom.
If you don’t pay quickly, they’ll threaten to delete your account and all your posts, which is where having a backup makes a big difference.
It’s pretty easy to figure out who uses Instagram in a way that would make them more likely to pay. Celebrities, influencers and businesses with a large number of followers are some of the most common targets.
Instagram data download request
You can request a complete copy of the data associated with your Instagram profile, including all your photos, videos, stories, messages, comments, contacts and host of other items.
This really isn’t a backup in the traditional sense, because you can’t push the data back up to Instagram to restore your profile as it was and it won’t include your posts in the future.
Ongoing backup option
An easy way to add to your downloaded data dump is by automatically making a copy of any photos or videos you post moving forward.
My favorite tool for this is an awesome website called IFTTT, which stand for If This, Then That. It’s a free platform of tools that allow various cloud services to talk to each other.
If you have an online storage account such as Dropbox or Google Drive, you can use one of the recipes that have been created that will automatically place a copy of any photos or videos you post on Instagram from now on.
Your caption, including hashtags, will become the file name in your storage account.
Account takeover protection tips
If your Instagram account is a vital component of your business, you need to be aware of the tactics being used to trick victims as well as security measures you should take.
A common method of compromising starts with a message from what appears to be a large company or marketing firm that claims to be interested in working with you. They generally include a link to their Instagram profile, which when clicked opens what appears to be the standard Instagram login page.
They know that if users get excited about working with a large brand or being paid to promote a product, they won’t be thinking critically about being at a fake login page.
Another easy way for them to take over an account is when you use the same password on your Instagram account that you use elsewhere. Data breaches are so common these days; using the same password everywhere is an invitation to disaster.
It’s also imperative to turn on two-factor authentication in Instagram and the email account that’s tied to your Instagram profile. My advice is that you turn it on for every online account you have.
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