Instagram hackers are hijacking accounts to promote porn

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If you do a little extra work, maybe your Instagram account won’t end up promoting porn and dating sites.

Security researchers at Symantec have followed a small wave of hackers who take over social media accounts and slightly modify targeted profiles by inserting spam links to adult dating and porn websites that pay the hacker money by affiliate number.

There’s nothing flashy about this little crime wave. The company lays the blame on weak passwords and old data breaches. The solution, then, is two-factor authentication, so that even a hacker who obtains your password can’t take over your account quite so easily.


Turning on two-factor authentication—a feature that is not yet available to all users—means anyone trying to access your account from a devices other than your own won’t be able to do so without some very sophisticated hacking—something these criminals likely can’t do.

You can enable two-factor authentication in your Instagram’s options menu, if it’s available.

Or, if you think your followers need some extra dating help, you can do nothing at all.

Clarification: Instagram began rolling out two-factor authentication in February, but it is not yet available to all users. So, if you don’t have it, good luck.

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.