Don’t Get Hacked on Instagram: Take 15 Minutes and Protect Your Years of Work on Instagram
By Thea Fiore-Bloom, Ph.D
Banner image “Candy Dots,” by artist and Charmed Studio subscriber Ellen Fields.
This is the scenario I don’t want happening to you.
It’s seven a.m. You’ve had no coffee, the phone rings and you hear your mother-in-law (or agent or gallery owner) ask:
“Why on earth have you decided to take your art down from your Instagram page and put up pornography instead?”
This very thing just happened to a good friend. During the course of the night, her account had been hacked.
Her great painting site with years of likes? Now was a big ole porn site.
And Instagram didn’t seem to care a whole hell of a lot.
Like most hacking victims, my artist friend was unable to retrieve her social media account and had to start over from scratch.
In the past, only high-profile artists and galleries got hit up for ransom payments on Instagram. But now, regular, ole’ visual artists are becoming the targets of hackers demanding payment to unfreeze your account.
True story. Here’s an example.
Recently painter and host of the “Breakfast With Sergio” podcast, Sergio Gomez told me he lost the Instagram account he and his art colleagues had spent years building after it was held for ransom and obliterated, overnight.
But you don’t have to be next.
The good news is, according to IT expert Arthur Brecel there are three easy things you can do (in less than fifteen minutes) that can build a little fortress around your Instagram page that will *lessen the chances of you having to deal with a hack.
Are you up for spending the time it takes to make and drink a cup of tea in your fluffy bunny slippers to better protect all your photos, captions, likes, and followers?
Let’s let Arthur help us get safer, fast with the following three easy steps.
How To Build a Mini-Fortress Around Your Instagram Account in 15 Minutes
Don’t Get Hacked on Instagram: Protection Step 1
The first thing to do takes three minutes; reset your Instagram password.
Consider securely storing your shiny new password in a free password manager app like Last Pass where you only need to remember one password — period.
Here’s a good little video to show you how to easily reset your Instagram password.
Don’t Get Hacked on Instagram: Protection Step 2
Okay, You’re doing great. Now it’s time for the most effective way to prevent a weeks-long freakout.
It’s two-factor authentication. This just means when you sign in from a new device you’ll have to enter a code that you receive via text. Yes, it is a slight pain in the butt but not as big a pain in the butt as having to explain to a million potential art buyers that you really are not a pornographer (see above.)
“Two-factor authentication and a secure password will make an Instagram account almost impenetrable,” said Arthur Brecel.
Watch this one-minute video and see how easy it is to turn on two-factor authentication on Instagram.
Don’t Get Hacked on Instagram: Protection Step 3
Almost done. Time to reset your Gmail or primary email password.
I know you’ve heard it a million times, but choose a password you haven’t used elsewhere.
Why? Because your email password is typically the gateway to everything else you do online — including your Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, WordPress, Paypal, and online banking accounts.
That’s it, you’ve built a protective fortress to fend off many potential nightmares on Instagram.
But if you want extra credit, consider taking the next two actions as well.
Instagram Safety Extra Credit
Don’t Get Hacked on Instagram (or Etsy) by Falling for The Fake Buyer Scam
Be especially aware of the latest Instagram phishing phenom delivered via a scam email that pretends to be awarding you the coveted blue verified badge.
(Also, be careful of new artful scam phishing emails that do a frighteningly good job of impersonating Paypal and Microsoft.)
And don’t agree to start conversations with a supposed “interested buyer” off of Instagram and on your iPhone! This can be a big fat phishing ransom scam setup.
Anytime anyone messages you with, “I love this painting, can we talk more about me buying it via text?” take a breath, avoid the temptation to please a potential buyer, and stay safe on the platform.
This fake buyer-phishing scam is happening on Etsy as well as Instagram. Don’t let people have texting convos, and don’t screenshot anything for someone unless you know them.
Oh, and if you are tech-savvy you need to watch out for this trick coming up here.
Got Virtual Assitants? Could Be a Problem
Ever Used Bots or Virtual Assistants To Post on Instagram For You?
Lastly, have you ever used automation tools or bots to load your Instagram feed in the past? (If you have, Brava you tech genius!)
But Instagram’s Privacy and Safety Center advises tech geniuses like you to clean out your third-party access list on Instagram.
Experts also advise you to revoke access to companies (besides Instagram and Facebook) and people (like past virtual assistants for example) whom you no longer want to have access to your account.
Keep in mind, Instagram third-party permissions must be revoked via your desktop not your phone, here’s a two-minute video to show how.
What do you think? Do you know of any artists who have been hacked on Instagram?
If you liked this article you might enjoy these other Charmed Studio posts:
Create a Gorgeous Email Signature for Free
Transform Your Art Newsletter in 3 Questions
How to Approach a Museum Store: 5 Surprising Dos and Don’ts for Artists
How to Start Writing Your Book, With Tea
51 Blog Post Topics for Heart-Centered Artists
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Denise McCanles says
Once again I learn something from you. I had never thought about being hacked on Instagram but I don’t know why. I’ve been hacked over and over on Facebook. Thank for this great info.
Laura den Hertog says
Super helpful and informative post Thea. This kind of internet piracy always makes me wonder what motivates these people? If I could find them and speak to them, I would say “go make some art, you’ll feel better!”.
LOL! Thanks so much. And good point. As a teacher of mine used to say, “You either make art or you make trouble.”
Yes! Very good advice, which I applied immediately after reading your article, and it took me less than 10 minutes. I then spent another hour securing my Google, PayPal, and WordPress sites, and I probably should do the same for Facebook and Pinterest.
Yesterday, I got a comment on my post on Facebook by a friend who’s been dead for 7 months. I was so spooked I immediately deleted the comment, but was able to find the fake account it was sent from and report it as a fraud.
Oh so glad it only took 10 minutes, I will change the post to say 10 minutes now! Thanks. And congratulations on continuing your winning streak by extending it to Paypal, Google and WordPress, I did Paypal and Google this week ( while waiting for a painter to show up) and was so relieved after. Yes, do the same for FB, I know it is super easy on Pinterest.Thanks for reminding me about WordPress, will add that into post as well. Sorry about your FB comment, that is rattling indeed.
Sylvia Larkin says
Another awesome article, Thea, and so helpful.I actually followed all of these instructions a few months ago when my FB account was hacked and my IT guru, aka youngest son, advised me to follow these instructions and create a really cool password for all of my accounts. Thankfully I never had bots! Thanks for all you do!
Sorry to hear your FaceBook was hacked! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! You did not deserve that. What was your site replaced by? Spam site?
I originally had links for FB fixes and Pinterest too in this article but it got too unwieldy. But I hope people read your comment and change their FB password and turn on two-factor on their FB too. It is even starting to happen on Pinterest.
Sylvia Larkin says
no spam site, thankfully. They did not do much damage because we immediately intervened and changed passwords on all accounts, I mean everything!~
That is fantastic that you did not lose your account and could retrieve it because of your fast action. Good for you.
Ahh, Instagram and social media, the needed tools for the artist. It can be a challenge to keep updating it with fresh content without worrying about somebody using computer software targeting loop holes and backdoor entry-ways into our very personal lives. Thanks Thea for the 3 steps for securing our social media accounts.
One question I have is what are the “automation tools or bots to load your Instagram feed”
Good question Kevin. Automation tools help entrepreneurs schedule a slew of posts to all their social media venues — in advance and on a rotating schedule. So the most popular social media scheduling automation tools are probably Buffer and Hoot Suite. Here is a little video comparing them. https://youtu.be/Og-Pm8D06f4. And here is an article that explains the difference between using automation tools and bots for Instagram.
Thanks for explaining Thea!
My pleasure. Is Instagram your favorite venue for promoting your art on social media?
I like Instagram the best. It is basically artists showing their work unlike Facebook with a lot of politics and the like.
Good point. I hear you.