Got an email from Instagram? Don’t automatically assume it’s legit.
On Monday, Instagram launched a new feature designed to stop phishing attacks from hackers masquerading as the social media service. “Bad actors are getting better at imitating emails from Instagram, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to distinguish between a genuine email and a fake one,” the Facebook-owned service said.
At first glance, the emails from the hackers look legitimate since they use Instagram logos. They offer verified badges, claim your account has been hacked and needs to be secured, or accuse you of violating copyrights. But the scammers just want you to click a link and type your login information into a hacker-controlled webpage.
To help users differentiate between the fake emails and official Instagram correspondence, the social media service is rolling out a new “Emails from Instagram” tab, which “will allow anyone to check if an email claiming to be from Instagram is genuine,” Instagram said.
The new feature can be found via Settings > Security > Emails From Instagram. A “Security” tab will display a list of the emails Instagram sent you within the past 14 days regarding your account security and the locations from which you’ve logged in. A second tab, dubbed “other,” will show you any remaining emails Instagram sent to you over the same period.
“We discourage people from clicking a link in an email that claims to be from Instagram if they can’t confirm we sent it. If someone accidentally clicks a suspicious link, they can request to secure their account here,” the social media platform added.
To further protect your account, it’s a good idea to enable the two-factor authentication. This mean anyone logging in will need to supply a password and a special one-time passcode generated on your phone to access the account. Activate it via Settings > Security > Two-Factor Authentication. Just make sure you don’t hand over the special one-time passcodes to any hacker trying to phish your account.
If privacy is a top concern on Instagram, meanwhile, you’ll be happy to learn that the app is doing away with the Following activity tab. It provides a running list of the likes and comments left by people you follow. But as BuzzFeed notes, it could prove embarrassing if you’re liking or commenting on accounts you don’t really want people to know about. It also wasn’t used much, so Instagram is axing it.