How to better protect your Instagram account using two-step verification (2SV)

Enable two-step verification to make it harder for hackers to hijack your online accounts.

David bisson
David Bisson

How to setup 2SV on Instagram

As we all know, a complex and unique password for each of your web accounts goes only so far towards protecting you against hackers.

Data breaches compromise people’s login credentials all the time, exposure which leaves users at the mercy of bad actors who traffic in stolen combinations on the dark web. These individuals have no qualms about buying a database of stolen usernames and passwords, authenticating a user for themselves, stealing personal and/or financial information contained on their account, and either monetizing that data or abusing it to commit fraud or secondary attacks.

Web services see these password attacks target their users every day.

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That’s why many let their users activate two-step verification (2SV), a additional security feature which adds another step in a login process. For instance, Facebook allows its users to enable what it calls “Login Approvals”, while WhatsApp rolled out 2SV to its 1.2 billion February 2017.

One of the newest services to join the 2SV bandwagon is Instagram, yet another company owned by Facebook. How do you set it up, you ask? It couldn’t be easier! Let’s take a look.

  1. Go to your Instagram profile.
  1. At the top right of the app’s display window, you’ll see three dots arranged in a horizontal line. Click that icon to access your Instagram account settings.
Payton's instagram profile
Source: Wikimedia Commons
  1. Under the sub-heading labeled “Account,” click on the option “Two-Factor Authentication.”
Img 5383
Source: Turn On 2FA
  1. Turn on the button that reads “Require Security Code.” (Before you can activate that code, you may need to first add a phone number to your account.)
  1. Enter the SMS confirmation code Instagram sends you.

You’re all set! Now whenever you ever want to log in to your account, such as from another device, Instagram will send your verified phone number a 6-digit SMS security code.

Instagram two factor authenticaiton prompt
Source: WIRED

That’s some extra security worth celebrating!

Want to better protect your other web accounts with 2SV? Check out our resources below for instructions.

Update: Since this article was first published, Instagram has introduced support for third-party authentication apps – which is considered a safer way of protecting your accounts with 2FA. Read more here.

Read more:

David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Tripwire's "The State of Security" blog.

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