This Instagram Hack Is Going Around—Here’s What You Need To Know (and How To Protect Yourself)

published Sep 4, 2019
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Getting hacked is one of the most common and easiest ways someone can invade your privacy. You might not even realize it until hours or days after the hack first occurs, and what’s worse is a friend or family member might be the one who breaks the news because they saw strange they received from your email, Facebook, and yes, even Instagram.

A new “promotion” has been circulating around Instagram, which showcases a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses and a deal that seems too good to be true (because oh, it is). Apartment Therapy’s own CEO Maxwell Ryan was a victim as of recent, with three photos of the image below posted on his feed showcasing a random site called RBXCS’s sale. We’re reporting on this both to keep you in the know about the hack, but also to inform ways you can prevent this happening to you.

Credit: Maxwell Ryan

You can start with not clicking on flyers such as this, especially when they come from a friend or family member that normally wouldn’t post advertisements. However, there are plenty of other less discreet ways you can get fooled, and being aware of prevention methods can be the difference getting hacked and not.

And of course if you are reading this because you actually just got hacked, contact Instagram (or whatever platform) immediately.

See below for our tips:

Be Smart About Passwords

There’s a reason it’s annoying to create a password that meets all the requirements (at least one capitalized letter, one character, a certain length, etc.)—so it’s difficult for someone else to figure it out. Make sure you do this even when the site doesn’t require this.

Many of us tend to use the same passwords over and over again for multiple sites and accounts, but try your best not to do this in the case that one does get hacked, which means everything else is at risk. Also, it’s smart to change your password often. Popular social media sites like Instagram do automated security checks to detect when other sites may have stolen your password, prompting a message to change your password as a result. It’s simple: do it.

Another tip that seems like common sense but we have all done at some point: Don’t share your password with someone you don’t know or trust. Be selective about who you share that information with and you’ll lessen your chances of ever getting hacked.

Remember to Log Out

Keeping saved passwords and automatic logins on your devices is fine, but make sure to not do this on other people’s laptops and phones. For example, if you go to the library and use the computer there, make sure to not check the “Remember Me” box or forget to logout. Even if you close the browser window, the next person who types in will see your entire profile—an easy way to get hacked.

Activate Two-Factor Authentication

Many people opt out of this feature because of it’s additional notifications, but this extra security blanket can save you from losing control of your account. This is how two-factor authentication works: Every time you try logging into a device that Instagram or whatever platform your using doesn’t recognize, you’ll be asked to enter a specific login code or confirm your login attempt.

These notifications can come in either text message or through a third party authentication app, and you’ll be able to access recovery codes if you’re having any issues receiving those codes, too.

Pay Attention and Just Be Smart

Like we mentioned above, if you noticed a family member or friend post something out of character, don’t click on it. If a deal over email seems too good to be true, it’s most likely clickbait. Even if it doesn’t seem totally out of the ordinary, if the link is coming from an unknown website, search information on the site first before making any moves. Or if you can avoid clicking it, just do. Better safe than sorry.

For more details on these tips, visit Instagram’s Help Center page here. If you have any additional tips that are important to know, please leave them in the comments below!