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Secure your Instagram account: activate two-step authentication!

It is the great fear of every (professional) Instagram user: What happens if the access data gets into unauthorized hands? How do I explain this to the customer? What protection mechanisms are there that can help in such a case?

Two factor authentication

Instagram has integrated an important function in the app for all users in recent months. It's about two factor authentication.

Two factor means that you need the following ingredients to log in with an Instagram account:

  • Username / email address and password
  • A code sent by SMS

A hacker who somehow gets the access data cannot do anything with it as long as he does not have access to the mobile phone number you have stored.

Sounds great? We think so too! And it's so easy to set up.

How do I secure my account?

If you want to activate the two-factor authentication for yourself, go to the settings in the Instagram app. You can find this on your profile page at the top right under the gear symbol.

Scroll down to the point "Two-step authentication". Then simply flip the "Request security code" switch. Instagram will now send you a confirmation SMS to the cell phone number that has already been stored. Then enter the code in this SMS in the Instagram app and you're done.

If the wrong number (or no number at all) is stored, you can change it again in this menu item. Then you will receive a code on the new number.

After successfully activating the two-step authentication, Instagram will also show you 6 access codes that you can use if you have no way of receiving an SMS. Classic, for example, when you are traveling abroad and using a different SIM card. Or you are in a place where there is WiFi, but no cell phone network.

These replacement codes are the biggest "loophole" in this system. Therefore you should guard them like the apple of your eye. So, for example, do not save in the (i) cloud or send it in an unsafe way. Do not print out and leave publicly, etc.

How will the registration work in the future?

Both on the smartphone and in the browser version of Instagram you will see a further step in the registration after activation. Regardless of whether you log in with a username and password or a connected Facebook account: You will always be asked for the security code.

At the same time, however, you will receive exactly this code via SMS on the stored mobile phone number. Simply enter the six-digit code and you are back in your Instagram account.

Where are the limits?

It becomes difficult if you use more than one Instagram account on your smartphone and want to secure it. Because this is unfortunately not technologically possible. Instagram can only assign mobile phone numbers used for authentication once.

You could of course secure another account with a different number. But then you have a physical separation between number and account on the smartphone. This can be quite good as additional protection. In the case of doubt, however, it is a hindrance in daily work.

So it's best to think about which account is most important to you and limit physical access to the other accounts. So: Don't make a customer's access data available to the entire marketing team.

When does two-step authentication not help?

As indicated above. With this authentication, the access code is sent to the stored mobile phone number. If someone steals the cell phone and has the access data, the protection is gone. But if that happens you have a big problem anyway.

Can I deactivate the whole thing again?

Sure, of course. In exactly the same place where you switched on two-step authentication, you can neither deactivate it.

Then you only need a username and password for access.

However, we would not recommend this.