With a social network as big as Instagram, users getting their accounts hacked and hijacked is a common problem. Instagram has rolled out some measures to keep accounts secure, but users are saying those aren’t enough, especially when it comes to reclaiming a hijacked account. Today, Instagram detailed some more security methods for user accounts – including a way for users to get their usernames back, even after it’s been changed by hackers.
The first method is launching into testing today. In the event that your account is compromised, this new feature allows you to send a six digit recovery code to the email address or phone number linked to the account – or, importantly, the email address or phone number that were linked to the account when you initially created it. In the event that a hacker gains access and changes your linked email or phone number, that could potentially allow you to regain access anyway.
As outlined by Motherboard today, that method isn’t entirely foolproof, but it also isn’t the only new security option Instagram is testing. If the hacker also has access to the email address associated with your account, they could simply request a recovery code and lock you out again. To combat that, an Instagram spokesperson told Motherboard that the company will “take additional measures to ensure a hacker cannot use codes sent to your email address [or] phone number to access your account from a different device.”
How Instagram will prevent that wasn’t detailed, but it’s nice to know that it’s something that’s being considered. Instagram is also testing a new method for protecting high-value usernames, which are often targets for hijackers. Now Instagram will protect usernames “for a period of time after any account changes, meaning it can’t be claimed by someone else if you lose access to your account.”
These features are just in testing for now, but it isn’t hard to imagine that they’ll soon be available to all Instagram users. It sounds like all features are rolling into testing today, with the lock on usernames live now on Android and coming to iOS soon. We’ll see if this does anything to stem the tide of Instagram account hijackings, so stay tuned.