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Instagram account been hacked? Read our step-by-step guide to get your account back

Meta (formerly Facebook) has owned the social network Instagram since 2012. According to Statista in 2022 it had 1.28 billion active users worldwide — with the number forecast to increase further.

As you can imagine, this also makes Instagram accounts an attractive target for cybercriminals. However, very few of us are aware that our Instagram account, which we love using on our smartphones, can easily be hacked — until it happens.

Read on to learn how to tell if your Instagram account’s been hacked and how to get your account back. Follow this step-by-step guide if your Instagram account has been hacked & your email changed.

How do I find out if my Instagram account has been hacked?

There are some telltale signs that your Instagram account has been hacked — meaning, someone who shouldn’t be able to access your account unexpectedly can.

  • Suddenly, you find yourself following a lot of people who you don’t know personally and liking or even commenting on their posts.
  • You can no longer access your account — even though you’re absolutely sure you’re using the right password. You know for sure that nothing’s wrong technically.
  • Suddenly there are pictures, stories, or reels on your Instagram profile that you know aren’t yours.
  • Messages are sent on your behalf.
  • You receive SMS security codes to reset your password or to log in, but it wasn’t you who requested them.

What should I do if my Instagram account has been hacked and/or my email address has been changed?

Having your Instagram account hacked is very annoying, but there are still ways to rescue your account. However, what you need to do depends on how someone gained access to your Instagram account in the first place.

Here’s a top tip to begin with: Check the email address associated with your Instagram account on a regular basis. As soon as a setting has been changed in your Instagram profile, you’ll automatically receive an email from the operator of this social network asking you to verify the activity.

You can do the following as long as you can still access your Instagram account

If you can still access your Instagram account, you should change your password right away. To do that, proceed as follows:

  1. After opening the Instagram app, first tap your profile picture followed by the three bars on the top right next to your profile name.
  2. Tap Settings, then find and tap Security.
  3. Now tap Password to enter your new password
Rescue your Instagram account
Change your Instagram password by following this step-by-step guide.

Here’s something important to consider: If you use the same password for other accounts, we recommend you change them as well. Or better still: Change all your passwords in one go.

It’s probably been playing on your mind for a while now that you should use a different password for each of your online accounts, comprising at least one number, one capital letter, and one special character. However, remembering a whole bunch of different passwords is an impossible task.

Make life easier for yourself by using a password manager like Avira Password Manager, which also serves as a password safe . You only need to remember one master password, and this useful tool can generate all your other passwords for you. Avira Password Manager can help you improve the online security of all your online accounts — and strengthen your Instagram account’s protection in the process.

Avira Password Manager
Strengthen your Instagram account’s protection with Avira Password Manager.

Follow these steps if your Instagram account email address has been changed

If the email address associated with your Instagram account has already been changed, you still have a good chance of recovering your account. That’s because Instagram emails you immediately about new log-in attempts and changes to any settings. If you receive such an email, simply click the link that says Secure my account and follow the instructions to undo any changes made by someone you don’t know or a hacker.

However, this way of rescuing your Instagram account requires that you regularly check your inbox and possibly also your email account’s spam folder. If you only get around to reading this email and securing your account days or even weeks later, it may be too late.

After changing your password and successfully securing your Instagram account, we recommend you also check any log-in activity on your account. We explain exactly how to do that towards the end of this post.

Lost all access to your Instagram account?

If you’ve lost all access to your Instagram account — and in the worst case, you’ve even been asked to pay a ransom to have your Instagram account back — get in touch with Instagram right away.

However, contacting the support team directly is quite time-consuming. That’s because Instagram doesn’t provide an email address for you to reach out to. That said, you can still contact the operator of this social network directly via the email address given in the legal info — even if the email address isn’t strictly for emergencies.

What can I do if my account was deleted during the hack?

If your Instagram account was “only” deactivated during a hack, you can still attempt to recover your account via the Help section.

Instagram account deleted during a hack
Recover a deactivated Instagram account via the Help section.

Unfortunately, if your Instagram account was deleted during the hack, your only option is to create a new one.

How can I protect myself from future hacker attacks?

You can take a wide range of steps to protect your Instagram account and your privacy.

In addition to those you can carry our directly in your Instagram account, tools that are actually recommended for all your online activities will also help you.

Verifying any log-in activity can help protect your Instagram account

We’ve already mentioned that you should check your Instagram account log-in activity after changing your password and block “suspicious” log-in activities. You can strengthen your protection against an Instagram hack by regularly checking such log-in activities:

  1. In the Instagram app, tap your profile picture followed by the three bars on the top right next to your profile name. Now tap Settings.
  2. Tap Security followed by Login activity to view a list of all activities.
  3. In this list, tap the three dots to the right of an activity to see further details.
  4. If a log-in activity seems suspicious or you know right away that it can’t have been you, tap Log out to block access.
Instagram: Check log-in activity
Strengthen your Instagram account’s protection by checking log-in activity regularly.

Of course, you can also access your account by visiting Instagram in your browser to perform these security steps.

Check your Instagram account log-in activity
You can also check your account log-in activity via the Instagram website.

Blocking third-party access can increase your Instagram account’s protection

If you want to improve your Instagram account’s protection, you should also block third-party providers’ access to your account.

  1. In the Instagram app, tap your profile picture followed by the three bars on the top right next to your profile name. Now tap Settings.
  2. Tap Security, then tap Apps and websites.
  3. You can then turn off all apps and websites connected to your Instagram account.
Block third-party access in your Instagram account
Block apps and websites from accessing your Instagram account.

An antivirus app can protect against malware

It goes without saying that all the devices you use to access your Instagram account should be equipped with a tried-and-tested antivirus app. That’s because a good antivirus solution can help keep a watchful eye out for you by continuously analyzing your device for a wide range of online threats, detecting malware faster.

Even the free edition of Avira Antivirus can help ensure that third-party providers you allow accidentally can’t install malware via your Instagram account.

Avira Antivirus
Protect your Instagram account against a hack attack with Avira Antivirus.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) can help protect your Instagram account

As mentioned, unique passwords are the key. A password manager like Avira Password Manager can create and store them for you — plus it supports two-factor authentication for your Instagram account.

  1. In the Instagram app, tap Settings once again, then go to Security.
  2. Tap Two-factor authentication followed by Get started.
  3. Now choose a security method.
Two-factor authentication with your Instagram account
Protect your Instagram account with two-factor authentication (2FA).

We don’t think text message authentication are a good idea, especially since hackers can easily hack your cell phone number (also known as SIM swapping). If that were to happen, text message authentication would be useless because the unauthorized person or hacker could then confirm the log-in codes themselves.

Instead, use Avira Password Manager as an authentication app to help improve your Instagram account’s protection. And, of course, Avira Password Manager can also help you improve the protection of the email address you associated with your Instagram account.

Top tip: Avira Antivirus Pro and Avira Prime include many tools that can help you improve the online security, performance, and privacy of your devices — and they also include many tools, including one to manage your passwords.

Avira Antivirus Pro
Avira Antivirus Pro includes an antivirus solution as well as a password manager.

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Avira, a company with over 100 million customers and more than 500 employees, is a worldwide leading supplier of self-developed security solutions for professional and private use. With more than 25 years of experience, the company is a pioneer in its field.