There is no doubt in anyone’s mind right now: the 2nd leading social network after Facebook connecting everyone across the internet is Instagram. With 1 billion active users as of June 2019, It’s safe to say that’s a good part of the world’s population is in the platform after some fashion.
To this day, Instagram is the main outlet of many information agencies as well as an ongoing source of entertainment for millions of people. The platform has a reach of functionality that makes it very inviting to all demographics and marketing companies have learned to exploit the possibilities by creating closer bonds with their customers.
In this article we are going to explain the methods which hackers use to steal people’s Instagram accounts. Recently it became a profitable source of income at dark web since accounts with high numbers of followers are getting sold quickly.
Source: SecurityEquifax’s tutorial to hack Instagram password
Corporations trade in information these days. Sometimes this is something that is even more valuable than actual money for many of them. It’s how most of them stay in business. They use information gathered from their operations as well as competitors to keep complete control of their business activities. Even governments rely on data to keep tabs on their competitors.
Information is regarded as a right by many Human Right agencies. People need it to keep track of what is happening in the world. The world is no longer attached to a daily broadcast of news in a TV station to know what is happening. Social networks like Facebook or Instagram offer information as it happens. All we need to do is have an account.
The problems that come with this access to information is that we become part of that trade, most of the time willingly and without regard to our privacy. Information is indeed power unto itself. The more knowledge we have in our hands, the more prepared we can be to face the world for what it is today. Instagram gives us that, but it’s not without a cost.
The Consequences of Losing Access to IG Account
After creating an Instagram account, the platform asks us to create a password to protect our information from any potential attack. Getting a strong password is one the essential we need to cover when we set shop on Instagram, especially if we are willing to share information about our lives on it.
Instagram’s programmers always recommend choosing a password that uses low-case letters with a capital throw in the mix. They also recommend using a number or a special character to make it stronger. By following this strategy, we can make sure that no one can guess our password to have unauthorized access to our profile.
Instagram also offers users the chance to link their profiles to an email account or a cellphone number to recover their accounts if they lose access to it or if they forget their password. Edge cases happen when you lose access to the platform without setting up a phone number or an email account for recovery.
It is sad to say, but this is a very common occurrence, and it can happen if you lose your laptop or your mobile device, either because they get stolen or misplaced. You can also be a victim of phishing schemes or download a virus that scrambles your machine. Locking yourself out of Instagram can be done in moment’s notice, and sometimes we don’t notice until it’s too late.
The following is a list of the most common events that can leave you out of Instagram and a brief insight on to deal with these problems.
1. Hacking using Software “Brute-force”
Bruteforce hacking is one of the most common reasons to lose access to IG account. It happens when someone uses designed software to crack your password. The software is programmed to receive updates of the latest types of passwords created on the platform. This makes the job of running tests through databases of potential combinations something easier that can be done in minutes.
Before couple of months we talked about one of these tools in our earlier post.
Conexio Web is one of the teams of coders that have created these types of software called “InstaRipper”. While their original intent is to offer people alternative methods to get their accounts back in case of password misplacement, they are aware that the software is frequently used to crack other people’s accounts without permission. Their Instagram utility is too user-friendly and accessible to anyone.
The latest version of their software comes equipped with a stealth-mode application to hide the search process from any user, making the crack effectively invisible to the person getting his account attacked. Most cracking programs take hold of the victim’s IP and conceal the operations of the account from Instagram’s security team.
The developers of this type of software keep updating their list of proxies to offer hundreds of fake IP addresses to make the hacking task as stealthy as possible. Bruteforce programs also clear the browser of any cookies after being used, thus eliminating any chance of tracking the use of this type of software.
The reach of these programs is not unlimited, though. The more unique you manage to make your password, the less chances attackers have of having access to your account. Follow the basic principles of password making: choose a phrase instead of a word and don’t use any personal information about you on it.
2. Phishing Methods
After brute-force method, the most used hack on Instagram is phishing schemes. Even with the ongoing warnings made on every corner of the internet regarding the need to check the address of the login page, people quickly fall for this and blindly hand over their Insta information, unaware that they are giving up their passwords.
It’s actually pretty sad that almost 80% of all account hacks happen after a successful phishing scheme takes hold. The numbers on these static are not exactly going down because it’s pretty easy to do, due to the natural state of Instagram as a platform with so many users. The most basic notion you need to understand phishing is a login page, so let’s take it from there.
It happens when the attacker sends several emails or messages posing as a Instagram administrative staff. These messages state that the users have to log in their IG account for security reasons or to check a message from our list of contacts. The message often contains a link to the phishing page. The user just has to click on it and place the information. Presto, account hacked.
This is just one of many methods to gain access. One of the most popular is placing ads all over the internet or share links connecting to Instagram that ask the potential victim to log on the platform again to get their information. Since Instagram changes the HTTP address when you are not logged in the platform to help you connect with it, it makes the job of these people way easier.
Setting up a phishing page is very complicated. It’s not something that can be done without basic knowledge of code and certain specialized tools to create these phishing scams. The best way to avoid phishing is by avoiding outside links to Instagram that ask for login information, and if we are intent on sharing an external link from the web. Make sure that we are already logged to our accounts.
3. Using Keyloggers to get access to IG account
Keyloggers are programs that can track the keystrokes used by a potential target on their keyboard to analyze the data collected and crack down a password. They are some of the most popular utilities online since they are often used by many companies to keep track of the web activities of their employees. They are also effective for parental supervision.
They work by collecting data on the device of the targeted users and sending all the relevant information on a text file to the one using the keylogger utility. Some of them allow special features such as keeping track of the location of the person keylogged or even taking a screenshot of their activities online. Most of the times, the people who are keylogged are aware of it because for it to work properly, the program must be installed on the device that will be tracked.
4. Social Engineering
Social engineering is simply a con used to gain access to a IG profile. Most people fall for it because they lack malice to known they are being scammed. Some of the most popular methods are posing as an Instagram technician calling with inquiries about your account (IG never does that). It can also happen when a random person simply asks to borrow your phone, or by having an alternate profile to talk people into surrendering their information. The best way to avoid these scams is to make sure you know the people you are dealing with and avoid lending your smart devices to strangers.
As you can see, hacking Instagram accounts is fairly easy, but it can be easily avoided as long as you are smart about it. Internet behaves like the real world, but times ten. If you don’t want to be scammed, you need to lighten up and be careful about your dealings online. It’s hard to trust anyone on these grounds, but it’s much worse to lose access to your personal information of your social network accounts.