Instagram is fast becoming the most popular social media platform, with one billion active users in 2018. Instagram is a fun and engaged place to share photos with friends and family, and to interact with the wider community. However, it is important that you are able to stay safe while enjoying the advantages of Instagram, in order to prevent issues such as phishing, hacking and abuse. To ensure that your Instagram profile remains secure now and in the future, read on for some top tips on how to make sure that you can have fun on the app without any security problems.
Check Your Privacy Settings
The easiest way that you can make sure that your Instagram account is secure is by checking your privacy settings on the ‘Settings’ icon – your one-stop location that allows you to have control over your own account and pictures. Under this section of the application, you can make vital changes to who can interact and view your photos, such as allowing you to filter comments which you have not approved of, ensuring that your profile does not appear on other people’s suggestions bar, and checking that your pictures do not appear on the internet or on Google searches. This is also the area in which you can make changes, such as removing any followers who you are uncomfortable with, as well as allowing you to gain more online financial security by adding a pin when you want to buy a product from an affiliate link.
Use Cloud Security
However, you can go one step further when finding ways to protect your Instagram account, by considering cloud security options. Firstly, deciding where to back up and store your photos when using Instagram and before you post is important; and using a cloud storage system can help you to protect the photos that are your own by ensuring that they are encrypted and stored on a remote server, rather than being located on your computer.
Not only this, but the Cloud allows software application companies, such as Bytes, to enhance security. Bytes provides content and breach security applications in order to prevent malware threats, as well as application software to ensure that you can remain safe while using Instagram. This can help to advance your security level with a number of advanced security systems, which can prevent threats such as hackers and malware on your software and device.
Create a Private Account
If you want to achieve the ultimate security for your Instagram profile, the best option is to create a private account, which can prevent any unauthorised access to your profile. Although this is not the desired option for influencers who want to create large, unknown followings, for those that just want to share photos with their friends or family, this is the perfect way to prevent security issues, and strangers from viewing your account.
You can make your Instagram private by accessing the three dots above your profile and then switching the private account option on. This means that when unauthorised visitors view your web page, they will simply see a lock icon. You must manually accept their request to follow you, if they choose to do so, at which point they will then be able to see all of your photos and posts.
Be Careful What You Post
However, you must also be careful when curating your posts to ensure that you are able to maintain a good level of security. For instance, when posting online, you should never reveal your location, especially that of your home, and you should avoid posting pictures which show it, such as photos with famous landmarks as a backdrop.
You should also avoid giving out personal information, such as your home address or contact numbers, in the wording of your posts, or in your bio. You should also ask for other people’s consent if you are going to take a photo of them, and avoid posting photos of children unless you have the consent of their parent or guardian. Be careful of the hashtags that you use as well, as these can also give out far more unwitting information that you may expect.
Be Password Savvy
Like with every website and account that you make online, you need to make sure that your Instagram profile is protected by a password that has a high security level. Although Instagram advises you if your password is too weak, you should avoid using personal details such as your pet’s name. Passwords should also not be easy to guess, such as ‘1234’. Your password should be updated regularly to make sure that it has not been breached.
This lock should be different to the passwords that you have used for other websites, even if you wish to use the same password for all of your different social media accounts. This lessens the risk of your password being discovered, and also minimises how many of your accounts will be accessed if you have a different password for each website that you use.
Enact Two-Factor Authentication
Instagram has made it easy for users to look after their privacy, though, and to ensure that your account is as private as possible you should consider using the two-factor authentication system when you log in to your account. This authentication can prevent other users from logging in to and accessing your account for themselves. Not only will your account now be password protected, but Instagram will also send you a text alert whenever you wish to access your account. This means that only you (or the person using your phone) will be able to collect the code necessary in order to access your account.
These two steps minimise the risk of someone being able to use your Instagram account, even if one of the factors is breached, allowing you to relax and enjoy the application. However, you need to remember that this may not be practical if you have a poor mobile signal in your hometown, or if you use another device to access Instagram other than your mobile phone.
Check for Hackers
If you believe that you have detected suspicious activity on your account, it is now possible to track who has been using your account. To do this, you need to find your ‘Activity Log’, which shows users all of their logins and interactions with the website, from everything that you have posted to any pictures that you have recently liked.
This will allow you to recognise if there are any actions that have been made without your permission or by another person, which you can then take steps against. You will also be able to use this function to see if someone has been able to change your password or has made changes to your privacy settings that could affect the security of your account in the future.
Block Third-Party Apps
However, it is often not only you that has access to your data, and you may have allowed third-party applications, such as post schedulers, to access your information. Although this data may seem harmless in itself, this exposure of your data can lead to untoward sources being able to view and use your personal information in harmful ways.
It is never too late to block third-party access to your Instagram account though, and it is possible to reject and block access to third-party applications by clicking on the ‘Authorised Apps’ page. Here, you can choose the apps which you would like to revoke permissions from, stopping them from being able to view your personal information in the future.
Use the Block and Hide Function
If you are having issues with a certain account, such as trolling or abuse, it is possible to stop that account from being able to see your photos and updates, and even from being able to follow you. You can achieve this by using the Block function, which effectively stops certain accounts from seeing your posts without notifying them. However, if you only want to avoid certain people for a limited time, you can mute accounts for short or extended periods of time by using the Mute function.
This stops you from being able to see their comments, as well as their own posts and stories. Not only this, but if you have a follower or account that you want to stop seeing your stories, you are able to hide your Instagram stories from them. They will be shown in the Hide function on your ‘Settings’ tab, allowing you to give them access again at any time.
Privacy is important on social media, to both stop crimes such as hacking and phishing, and to stop you from feeling uncomfortable or from receiving abuse online. Instagram provides a range of security features, such as private accounts and two-factor authentication, to assist you with this. However, as shown above, there are also a number of steps that you can take individually to alter your privacy to the controls that suit you.