Cybersecurity

Published on August 4th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi

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The Common Methods Hackers Use to Steal Instagram Accounts & How to Protect Yourself From

Almost every month we can read in news about some mass hacking attack happened on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook, where users personal accounts and private information got compromised.

With all security features which these platforms have implemented and working hard to improve them daily to protect their users, how it’s still possible to hack peoples accounts of these massively popular social networks?

Today we’ll talk about Instagram, which is a target No.1 when it comes to hacking users accounts amongst all other social networks. Specifically accounts of influencers, celebrities and other popular users with high number of followers are on “must try” list of every hacker. These accounts, if stolen successfully, can be sold for good prices on dark web market-forums, when later after they’re bought are usually used for marketing purposes.

Today we reveal you the most used methods hackers use to break inside peoples Instagram accounts and tips how you can protect your IG account from getting hacked from them.

These methods are discovered by journalist of SecurityEquifax blog who interviewed one of those hackers privately and shared them after on his blog.

DISCLAIMER: By reading this article you’re agreeing to use learned information only in purpose to protect yourself and your account from hacking attempts. It’s against our terms and conditions to use information from this article to harm someone else. Means to hack Instagram accounts which does not belong to you. By doing so, you take all responsibilities and risks which may occur on yourself.

Method #1: Phishing

An old school hacking trick which still works like a charm as of today is not problem only when it comes to hacking Instagram, but with any other online platform in general!

How it works? A hacker makes fake Instagram login page which looks exactly like real Instagram’s one. After, they try to trick their victim to login trough their fake “phishing” page. After (if) user makes login trough this fake site, they got redirected to real Instagram news feed page without knowing the first one was fake! Their login details get stored inside a server of phishing website where hacker can later use them to steal user’s account.

How to protect yourself from getting hacked by phishing method?

Always keep an eye on the URL address when you’re logging in somewhere! Phishing websites authors will always try to make it looks similar like official one. Example: they will register domain such as “instagrem.com” – Notice the “e” not “a”. They can’t use “instagram.com” because that domain is taken and can’t be registered.

They often send these phishing attempts by email or Instagram messaging system with message titled something like “Confirm you are active Instagram user by logging trough this link” where they mask “this link” with their phishing URL.

Method #2: Use of Brute-Force Tools

Another old hacking method which rarely can work successfully nowadays, but still sometimes can work. It requires a specially developed cracking software which “attacks” Instagram login page with thousands of possible passwords per minute using a pre-made .txt file list of most used online passwords.

This software also requires its private server from where it drains fresh unused IP addresses after few unsuccessful attempts because of Instagram’s security feature of blocking every IP after 3 invalid tries.

This method takes long time to find a right password and will only work if Instagram user made their password easy, like built from one simple word.

How to protect your Instagram from getting hacked by bruteforce method?

Simple: Use strong, long complex password, hard to remember. Made of lowercase + uppercase letters + numbers + special characters. Password like this will take years to hack using brute-force tools. And no one let their PC run for that long without shutting it down.

Method #3: Use of Keylogger Apps

Keylogger is an application which monitors every keystroke made on targeted device and stores them in logs hidden inside hard drive. These logs are regularly sent to admin’s email or FTP server account. Which means a hacker first needs to install a keylogger app on your phone or PC so later they can spy your activity, everything you type.

There are two ways how keyloggers gets installed: Physically and remotely.

Physically: You leave your phone or PC unlocked and go somewhere. Someone comes and installs a keylogger on your device while you’re not looking.

Remotely: Hackers usually tries to trick their victims by sending them files bind with a keylogger together, claiming it’s a mp3/image or something else. Victim runs bind file and both files gets executed: image/mp3 together with a keylogger, which gets installed silently inside your device.

Note: When it comes to smartphones, Android is much easy to hack since iPhone is highly protected and it’s only possible to “infect” it with a keylogger physically.

How to protect yourself from getting hacked by a keylogger?

1. Always have a good antivirus software installed and keep it up to date! Antivirus will detect a keylogger as a spyware/trojan horse and stop its activity immediately after detecting it.

2. Never leave your device unlocked so someone can use it without your notice.

Method #4: Guessing a Password

Believe it or not, there are so many people who’re not aware how password strength is so important. Many still use one-word simple passwords, like name of their sympathy, sport they train or something similar. According to SplashData’s statistics from 2018, these are top 20 users most used passwords:

123456, Password, 12345678, qwerty, 12345, 123456789, letmein, 1234567, football, iloveyou, admin, welcome, monkey, login, abc123, starwars, 123123, dragon, passw0rd, master.

So, don’t be one of these guys! Use strong, complex password, made of lowercase + uppercase letters + numbers + special characters. Make it hard to read.

Extra Tips – Applies for Everything Above:

  1. Never forget login details to your email account which you have used when signing up for Instagram. Many people who got their accounts hacked lost it because they forgot password of their email address. Without it, and if you didn’t add phone number inside Instagram account too, it will be impossible to recover it back if it gets stolen.
  2. Add phone number inside your Instagram account’s setting. You can also enable login notifications if someone tries to login to your account from unusual location.

By doing both of these steps, even if your account gets hacked you can easily recover it back fast, change password and secure it again.

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About the Author

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.



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