Photo sharing platform Instagram is set to switch on two-factor authentication capabilities to improve account security for its users in a long overdue move.
The Facebook-owned company has over 400 million users to date, many of them corporate account holders or others who use the platform as a marketing channel and a means to interact with customers.
Now the firm has finally confirmed to TechCrunch that it is joining countless other web companies in rolling out added authentication security for users.
This will mean that soon, on log-in, users will be asked to link their account to a phone number.
If a hacker then tries to log in using a victim’s email address and password – which they’ve stolen or phished – they will not be able to complete the log-in process as they won’t have the one-time passcode sent to the account holder’s mobile.
The move comes over four years after parent company Facebook offered users the option of switching on two-factor authentication. Other big names providing the service include Google, Yahoo, Apple and Twitter.
In fact, it’s fast becoming the industry norm, so Instagram is somewhat late to the game here.
With phishing attacks becoming increasingly realistic and voluminous, and password-cracking tools readily available on the darknet, all web-facing firms really need to move to two-factor authentication to improve account security.
The infamous iCloud hack in particular showed the potentially damaging repercussions of not doing so.
While hacked Instagram accounts are unlikely to cause the same kind of embarrassment for the user, they still have the potential to send out irritating spam to followers, and could even damage account holders financially.
The report cited the case of artist Rachel Ryle, who uses the platform to share hand drawn stop-motion animations.
After someone hacked her account and began spreading spam, some 35,000 followers apparently unfollowed her, scuppering a hefty sponsorship deal she had lined up.
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