Instagram Accounts Hacked and Usernames Disappear

Instagram's two-factor authentication fails users. Photo-sharing platform recommends users to revoke access to third-party apps.

Are you one of those thousands of Instagram users who went to log in to their account to notice that their account had disappeared? Thousands of users have had this experience this week and received little help from Instagram tech support.  As widely reported on various Reddit threads, accounts, usernames and even profile photos were changed and highjacked by unknown hackers based in Asia and possibly Russia.

“We work hard to provide the Instagram community with a safe and secure experience,” an Instagram spokesperson said in an official statement. “When we become aware of an account that has been compromised, we shut off access to the account and the people who’ve been affected are put through a remediation process so they can reset their password and take other necessary steps to secure their accounts.”

What’s discouraging about this latest hack is that the hackers seem to have been able to disable two-factor authentication (2FA) on various secured accounts. Furthermore, the hackers changed the hacked users’ avatars to  Disney and Pixar films animated characters, and deleted their bios to replace them with garbage.

The company hasn’t specified if the hack affects all OS, or just Android or iOS.

Instagram recommends to all to change their passwords to a strong one and to revoke all third-party apps. “We have dedicated teams helping people to secure their accounts. If you have reached out to us about your account, you will hear back from our team soon.” The company said, “Finally, revoke access to any suspicious third-party apps and turn on two-factor authentication for additional security. Our current two-factor authentication allows people to secure their account via text, and we’re working on additional two-factor functionality with more to share soon.”

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