Having anything of yours stolen is on everyone’s top ten list of things they hope doesn’t happen to them. Facebook, Instagram, banking, gaming platforms–it doesn’t matter which device or website, it’s a recipe for anxiety, anger, frustration, and stress.
Being hacked is the risk many take using the internet, a small risk for the reward of using this great tool, but that doesn’t make it any better when it does happen.
As it turns out there are tools, at the very least, for attempting to retrieve what was stolen from you. So, you go through the process of retrieving your account and everything is good, but sometimes that isn’t enough.
You want to put a face to your wannabe hacker or, at the very least, you want to know their IP. It could give you some idea of what area they reside it so you know where to avoid. And hey, you might find the IP is in your area. It could’ve been a friend.
1. Reverse Photo Searching
This solution is for those unfortunate enough to have their accounts stolen and then have their account detailed completely changed. This makes it incredibly difficult for you to retrieve your account information since the username was changed, as well as the recovery email. Even Instagram will notify you that the username you’re looking for doesn’t exist. All is not lost.
Reverse photo searching attempts to match any photos you know for sure are linked to your account and match the photos. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. There’s a small chance you’ll find it, but a small chance is better than no chance at all.
If you managed to find your account, you can report the account to Instagram and start the account retrieval process. Of course, they’ll want proof.
2. Legal Action
This solution could be more trouble than it’s worth. You can contact an attorney and have Instagram release the information; however, certain information is only retained for a set period of time before it no longer sticks around.
If you’re looking to press charges, taking legal action and getting Instagram involved, you’ll want to request information from Instagram about the account as soon as possible. ISPs can be traced, especially if a VPN wasn’t used or the “hacker” didn’t bother to hide their actions.
3. Avoid Being Hacked Again
Technology isn’t perfect and following these tips won’t ensure it never happens again.
1. Change your password immediately. It’s helpful (but inconvenient) for a password to have capitals, symbols and numbers–no one wants to remember all that–but it sure does add another layer of protection against brute force hacking tactics. The longer and more varied the password is, the longer it takes for brute force to work.
2. Change your password frequently.
3. Change the password of your email while you’re at it. If someone knows your email login and password, your attempts at changing your Instagram password will be for nothing. Google has its own two-step authentication for extra security. Do not use the same password for any two accounts.
4. Log out of every single device you have Instagram linked to, and uncheck the box Remember Me. You can ensure that every device is logged out if you simply change your password. Instagram automatically signs out of every device when you do so.
5. Active Instagram’s two-factor authentication. Another incredibly helpful (but inconvenient) layer of security that sends a special login code every time you login with a device Instagram doesn’t recognize.
Imagine having this password sent to your phone every time you sign in. Even if someone does have your password, they can’t log in unless they take the second password from your phone.
6. Refrain from using sketchy Wi-Fi hotspots. People stalk these hotspots looking for unsuspecting victims.
7. Refrain from using third-party apps that ask for permission. If Instagram doesn’t sanction the apps, don’t use them. Third party apps like Duo Mobile and Google Authenticator have sanctioned apps because they work with Instagram for added security.
If You’ve Been Hacked…
Your first step is to contact Instagram and report the account. If the person altered your account in such a way that is unrecognizable, you’ll have to provide proof that the account was yours: a photo of yourself with a code they give you and the email or phone number associated with the account
Getting your account hacked isn’t a quiet walk in the park. Instead, it’s stressful and anger-inducing, and you might not even find out who did it unless you petition with legal action. If that’s the route you take, you are free to do so.
A route that doesn’t cost money is beefing up your account security and being vigilant of the signals you connect to, the apps you use and the people you’re around