What is Instagram Phishing and ways to counter it – News Couple
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What is Instagram Phishing and ways to counter it


Instagram accounts have been at risk of phishing attacks for years now, but there are no signs that things are improving. Instead, the platform has resorted to new security features to help users combat these scams.

Although improved security is always better, phishing is a much more difficult threat to combat. Most of these tricks play on the human psyche to elicit feelings such as fear. These tend to lead us to make quick decisions – that is, when the scam starts.

As with many things, public education plays a vital role in countering Instagram phishing attacks.

How Instagram Phishing works

Example of an Instagram phishing email

Instagram phishing can work in many ways, but most of them fall within the parameters of general phishing attacks. The ultimate goal of the attackers is to take control of your Instagram account by making you provide them with login credentials.

If you’re asking yourself why you’d be stupid enough to do something like this, it’s a lot easier than you think.

A typical Instagram phishing attack method is to use another Instagram account to send you a direct message (DM). This account often impersonates an official account, calling you to warn you or asking for information.

Another way is when the scammer makes a “unique” tempting offer for your account. They will direct you to click on a link that will direct you to a website they control. Once you enter the required information, scammers can take control of your Instagram account.

There are other models of phishing scams, but the topic and goal generally remain consistent.

Protect yourself from Instagram phishing

Stay calm

The way phishing attacks work is always to try and pass on a sense of urgency, panic, or even temptation to force you to complete an action without thinking things through. Attackers prey on the human psyche, as we react instinctively under certain conditions.

As human beings, we tend to act quickly to protect something that is important to us. While this is normal, a hasty decision often misses out on essential elements of the critical thinking process. If you get a direct message asking for urgent action, Stay calmAnd Slower, And I think things through.

Check Instagram Email Center

Instagram offers several tools to help protect user accounts.
Instagram offers several tools to help protect user accounts. You can access the email center by going to “Settings -> Security -> Instagram emails” in your app.

Instagram is well aware of the large number of phishing attacks and offers many features to help combat them. One such tool is the Instagram Email Center, where you can check if the message you receive is legitimate.

Here, you can find logs of all official communications from the platform. It is divided between “Security” and “Other” for easy reference. If the email or DM you get isn’t on this list, it’s definitely a phishing attempt.

Instagram’s official email address is [email protected] But there are some cases of phishing email sent from similar email addresses. It’s just a slight spelling difference and you can’t tell if you don’t care, so double-check the email address whenever you want to take further action.

Activate two-factor authentication

You can enable 2FA security in your app from the Settings menu via “Settings -> Security -> Two-Factor Authentication.” Select this option, then choose the authentication method you prefer (source).

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is the use of a secondary method to confirm an action. For example, apart from using your Instagram login credentials, you will need an additional way to prove that you are the one acting.

Instagram supports two two-factor authentication (2FA) verification methods. You can either use an authentication app like Google Authenticator or use your mobile phone to send SMS.

The first option will ask you to launch the authentication app and enter the code associated with your Instagram account. The code is constantly changing, so there is no way to repeat this process.

Choosing SMS means that Instagram will send you a code in an SMS on your mobile phone. This method is a bit outdated but still relatively effective in most cases. To authenticate the app, you need to scan a QR code to associate it with Instagram.

Be careful when clicking on links

Link shortening services can help quickly hide malicious links
Link shortening services can help quickly hide malicious links

Hyperlinks make it easy for us to navigate the Internet. Unfortunately, this simplicity often leads to forgetting about link validation. Phishing scammers generally create entire websites that closely mimic legitimate sites.

However, the moment you try to log into these scam websites, the scammers will get your credentials and access your account, then they will lock you out.

Mobile devices make it difficult to verify links because you will need to take additional steps to view the URL. At the very least, beware of clicking on the link.

  • As much as possible, type the URLs directly instead of using links
  • Avoid shortened links like those on Bitly or Tinyurl.
  • Read the link text carefully as scammers sometimes try to get URLs as close to match as possible.

See what you are installing

Phishing attacks sometimes take another, more complex form, which is stealing your credentials via other apps. Due to the number of applications available, it is usual for many of us to install a large number of them.

Always make sure that the apps you install are reputable and keep a close eye on the permissions they require during the installation process. Be especially wary of apps that want to access your Instagram account no matter how tempting the auto-follow or other services may be.

Enhance your digital security

Instagram phishing scams can be horrible, but there are many forms of cyber attacks that threaten us daily. All of them can cause havoc in our personal lives, from financial loss to severe reputational damage.

Fortunately, there are different ways to protect against such threats. Some of the highly recommended tools include;

Virtual Private Networks

How does a VPN work
How using a VPN can protect your privacy.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are increasingly popular today. These services help encrypt your data and route communications through secure servers. However, not all of them are a good option as some may steal and sell your data. Use a recognized brand to ensure your online safety and privacy.

internet security apps

Make sure to download and run a reputable internet security app. They are often comprehensive and protect against virus attacks, other malware, and even phishing attempts.

Safe web browsers

Google Chrome may be the most popular web browser today, but it’s not particularly great for data privacy. Consider using an alternative, more secure web browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Brave Browser.

Restore your Instagram account

Fortunately, Instagram offers different means of recourse if you think that your account has been compromised. Here are some of the ways you can try to get it back. Remember, however, that the options available to you may vary depending on whether or not you still have access.

1. Check Instagram official email in the app

If you believe you provided information due to phishing, check the Instagram email center mentioned above. If it matches the message you received, then things are probably fine. To reassure yourself, you may want to change your password.

You can report to [email protected] Whenever you encounter any phishing or strange email.

2. Get help from Instagram

For those who cannot login to the app, there is an option to get help from the login screen. Select “Get help signing in” or “Forgot your password” (the text varies depending on your phone platform) and enter your email address, username, or phone number. You will need to follow the instructions, and Instagram will send you the login information.

If that fails, another option in the same menu allows you to get the security code. Once you have it, you can follow the instructions to recover your password.

You will need to verify your identity for Instagram to help you recover the account. This verification usually takes the form of a video selfie that you have to send to them. Do note that you have to carefully follow the required video format, or they may refuse to check.

Once your Instagram account is recovered, make sure to do the following activities;

  • Change your password immediately.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to improve security.
  • Check your settings to see if they are still correct.
  • Check if unauthorized accounts are linked.
  • Check if new apps have been granted access.

Is your Instagram account at risk?

Phishing is a numbers game, and hackers often throw in a wide net. For this reason, all Instagram accounts are technically vulnerable. However, different circumstances can increase the risk factor for your Instagram account.

As a general rule, the more “powerful” your Instagram is, the more likely it is to be compromised. The more followers you get, the higher your status, the greater your business value. Even if hackers manage to take control for a few days, they can quickly sell shouts or other actions for various amounts of quick cash.

Instagram offers an account verification feature that you might think increases security. However, verified accounts are often highly valued by hackers because they are often more valuable. They can use these accounts to carry out phishing scams more easily.

Hackers sell verified Instagram accounts for around $45. However, the actual value may be higher depending on the impact of the calculation.

conclusion

It is important to understand that phishing attacks take advantage of human emotions more than technology. You can keep your Instagram account safe from phishing attacks by following good security best practices and thinking things through before you act.

Always beware of messages claiming to be from official sources if they come in an unfamiliar way. Don’t trust too quickly, and always check.

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