4 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Instagram Security


Today we’re stepping outside of the typical budget and debt payoff posts to talk about Instagram security! Fun, right? Following the steps in this post will help prevent your account from being hacked or even worse, deleted

Fair warning: this blog post is a little long. You can save it to Pinterest to read later. If you prefer to watch the lessons in video format, head to my Instagram stories. We'll be covering four different topics:

Why you should care about account security 

Best password practices 

Two-factor authentication 

Instagram backup

1. Why should you care? 

If you care about photos, memories, comments, followers, people you’ve connected with on Instagram, then you should read this blog post and implement these steps.

There have been so many stories in the news of big influencers getting hacked. One received a phishing email from someone that wanted to do business. The person clicked the link and provided her Instagram username and password. BOOM. Hacked. One of the steps we're going to go over would have prevented her account from being hacked.

Instagram has also made a habit of randomly disabling accounts. My Instagram account was disabled by mistake in September. I hadn't backed up my pictures, and there were pictures of my hound dog, Mac, who had recently passed away that I didn't have. It was devastating thinking that I wouldn't get them back.

I'm not the only one this has happened to. I've had numerous people reach out to me to help get their account back. Some have been successful, while others have created new accounts. 

2. Password best practices 

You're not going to like this section because everyone reading this will need to change their password(s). 

- You need to use a different password for each account (Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, etc.). 

EVERY ACCOUNT. Do not use the same password over and over again. Why? Because once one account is hacked, what do you think they’re going to do? They are going to try the same credentials (email address, username, and password) on all your other accounts. If your credentials are the same, it's going to be pretty easy to get into other accounts. 

Tip: Use a password manager like KeePass, LastPass, etc.Do not put your passwords in an Excel spreadsheet without being password protected. Just don't do it. 

LastPass is what I personally use to keep track of all my passwords across the web. I love this company because there is a free version, it's easy to securely share your password with others, AND it's interface is user friendly. Go HERE to check it out for yourself.

Debt Free in Sunny CA Amanda Williams


I'm Amanda. My husband and I paid off $133,763 of debt in less than four years! During our journey, I realized what my true passion was in life: helping others become debt free and reach financial independence. You can learn more about us here.

- Your password should not be an actual word! 

You should use numbers and special characters to break up the words.

Word: BassetHound 

Not a word: B@s$eTHouN#1 

Tip: Use a phrase to remember your password."65 days until we're debt free" could be turned into "65D*wDF!%". Sub out some of the letters for special characters and add some additional numbers/special characters to make the password stronger.

Debt Free in Sunny CA Honeycomb Debt and Savings Tracker

- Your password should be more than eight characters long, preferably 12+ and should contain the following:

Upper case 

Lower case 


Special Characters 

- Change your password regularly

At least quarterly. Do not keep the same password for years and years.Homework: Go change your passwords now and follow the best practices listed above

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    3. Two-factor authentication 

    What the heck is two-factor authentication? It means you need two things to log in to your account. Let’s dig deeper. 

    There are three common factors of authentication: 


    -Something you know (password) 

    -Something you have (token) 

    -Something you are (biometrics) 

    When you have two-factor setup, that means you are using two different factors of authentication. You need a password and a token to log in your account. The most common method to get a token is from an application on your phone like Duo, Google Authenticator, VIP Access, etc.

    When logging in, you enter your username and password. Once those credentials are accepted, you’ll be prompted for the token. All you have to do is open the application on your phone, copy the token, and paste it in Instagram.

    The token is only valid for 30 seconds, so there’s a tiny window that someone could use the token to get into your account. Two-factor increases the security on your account immensely.

    Two-factor would have prevented the influencers account from being hacked. The bad actor wouldn’t have had her two-factor token, thus not being able to log in even though they had her username and password.

    Let’s set up some two-factor authentication! 

    If you're a visual person, you can watch the full course on my Instagram highlights. 

    - Go to your profile and click the three lines in the top right-hand corner and then click Settings 

    - Scroll down to Two-Factor Authentication and then select Get Started 

    - Turn on the Authentication App feature. This method is more secure than text messages. You'll be 

    prompted to install Duo Mobile. Follow the instructions to install it from the App or Google Play store.

    Note: Make sure to TURN OFF two-factor before upgrading or wiping your phone. The Duo app is tied to your phone. Even if you backup your phone and import it on your new phone, Duo will not work. Keep the Recovery Codes in a safe place that you can access in case something happens to your phone.  

    -After Duo is installed, go back to Instagram and click Next to get your token from Duo. You'll be prompted to open Duo. Click Yes, copy the token, and then go back to Instagram and paste it. 

    - Congratulations! You've set up two-factor authentication for Instagram. When you log in to Instagram, you'll now be prompted for your username, password, and Duo token. You'll need to open the Duo app and get the token that is generated. Every 30 seconds a new token is generated in the app.

    -But wait, there's more! Once you click Next in the step above, you need to screenshot or write down the Instagram Recovery Codes. This is important. If you get a new phone and don't set up two factor before getting rid of the old phone, how are you going to get into your account? The recovery codes are there in case you need them. Keep them in a safe, accessible spot!

    Homework:Go set up two-factor authentication on your Instagram account. While you’re at it, set it up for Facebook, Gmail, Amazon, etc.

    Backing up your Instagram account 

    Backing up my Instagram is a step that I’ve recently implemented. I didn’t know that you could request all of your pictures, captions, stories, etc. from Instagram! It’s now part of my monthly tasks. If anything happens to my account again, at least I will have all of my pictures and memories. 

    You should do the same! It’s something that you don’t think or care about until something like this happens to you. It’s effortless to do.

    - Go to your profile and click the three lines in the top right-hand corner and then Settings

    - Scroll down and select Data Download. On the next page, click Request Download. 

    - You’ll be prompted to enter your Instagram password. If you did your homework above, this step should be a pain in the butt. I promise the complex password is worth it! Instagram will email you a link to download your data within 24-48 hours. 

    - Once you receive the email from Instagram, download and backup your data to Google Drive, etc. ASAP. The link is only valid for four days as it contains personal information. 

    You’ll want to do this on a computer, if possible because the .zip files are going to be substantial depending on how much content you have. Do not keep your backups on your computer or some device that could crash/brick/lose your data. Put it in the cloud!

    Homework: Go back up your Instagram data and set a calendar reminder for each month. 

     Today you’ve learned why this stuff is essential, best password practices, how to set up two-factor authentication (and what the heck it is), and how to backup your precious Instagram data. 

    I hope this tutorial was informative and easy to follow. Make sure to comment below once you’ve completed your homework! Please, please share this with someone who cares about their Instagram account and content.  

    More Ways To Save

    • Light and Airy Photographer - Make your Instagram aesthetic professional and polished with the Light and Airy Lightroom Filters. 
    • Amazon - Shop all my favorite products on Amazon. Plenty of money saving finds and ways to make your life easier. 
    • Capital One 360 - Got an emergency fund sitting in a 'traditional' savings account making .010% interest? NO! Get a Capital 360 high yield savings account. It's time to start making money on your money! 
    • EasyBudget - Check out the debt free community's leading debt snowball calculator. 
    • Lastpass - Stay safe and secure online when you use Last Pass for your passwords and digital security. Why is this so important? Visit my article on Instagram Security today.

      About Amanda Williams

      Amanda Williams is owner and founder of Debt Free In Sunny CA: A company inspiring financial literacy and debt free living. Josh and Amanda paid off $133,763 of debt in 3.7 years. She has built a dedicated, engaged, and loyal audience of thousands from the ground up. The #debtfreecommunity hashtag was created under Amanda's direction and has generated an online movement, bringing thousands together on a daily basis.
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