Instagram Announces Support for Two-Factor Authentication Apps and Streamlined Account Verification

by

Instagram today announced several new security enhancements that are being implemented to make the social network safer for all users.

Starting soon, Instagram is implementing support for third-party authenticator apps, which will allow them to be used for two-factor verification purposes in lieu of a phone number.

Instagram has supported two-factor authentication for some time, but it was tied to a phone number and required users to receive text messages, which has proven to be insecure and left some Instagram users vulnerable to SIM hacking.

instagramtwofactor
SIM hacking is a method hackers use to gain access to a person's phone number, using it to get into high-profile social media accounts. Some instagram accounts with short handles are valuable and have been stolen through this method, something a third-party authenticator app can protect against.

Instagram says that users can go to the Settings section of the Instagram app, choose Two-Factor Authentication, and then select "Authentication App" to implement two-factor authentication that does not involve a phone number.

Support for third-party authenticator apps is rolling out and will be available globally "in the coming weeks."

Along improved two-factor authentication, Instagram is also enhancing security through a new "About This Account" section that will be added to high-profile Instagram accounts. This feature will allow users to see more information about accounts that reach large audiences, allowing users to "evaluate the authenticity of the account."

To see more about an Instagram account, users can tap on a profile, tap the hamburger menu option and then select "About This Account." Information displayed will include the date the account joined Instagram, the country where it is located, recent username changes, and ads the account is running.

Starting in September, people who have accounts that reach large audiences will be able to review the information that will be available, and after that, the feature will roll out worldwide.

Instagram also plans to make it easier for Instagram users to earn a blue verified badge that lets people know an account is the "authentic presence of a notable public figure." Verification has been available on Instagram, but prior to now, there was no streamlined process for requesting account verification.

instagramverification

To be verified, an account must comply with Instagram's Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. We will review verification requests to confirm the authenticity, uniqueness, completeness and notability of each account. Visit the Help Center to learn more about Instagram's verification criteria.

Instagram users who want to apply for verification can do so by accessing the Settings app and choosing "Request Verification." Username, full name, and a copy of legal or business identification will be required. Like the other features announced today, the verification option is rolling out to users but could take some time to show up for everyone.

Top Rated Comments

OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
31 months ago
Wonder what they consider "large accounts". Nearly every one of my accounts has over 20k followers, with most well over 100k. Certainly the +100k will be considered large but I wonder what the cutoff is on the lower end.
[doublepost=1535478415][/doublepost]

Never understand authentication apps. I was using one for a while for 3 accounts. Got a new iPhone installed the app and it was reset. Lost 3 accounts because I couldn’t get back into them. For the average user phone number should be more than enough. I mean seriously who the hell is going to hack my SIM card. Come on.... I can see a use for it for users not wanting to hand over their phone number to shady services but maybe you shouldn’t be using those services anyway, just a thought.

Just last week several apps made headlines for being hacked through SIM exploitation. This type of news (that Mac Rumors also publishes) puts these apps in the spotlight, necessitating moves like this from Instagram, Twitter, and others.

The fact that we're seeing accounts exploited this way is a great indicator that these additional measures are needed.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Prospekt Avatar
31 months ago

Wonder what they consider "large accounts". Nearly every one of my accounts has over 20k followers, with most well over 100k. Certainly the +100k will be considered large but I wonder what the cutoff is on the lower end.
[doublepost=1535478415][/doublepost]

Just last week several apps made headlines for being hacked through SIM exploitation. This type of news (that Mac Rumors also publishes) puts these apps in the spotlight, necessitating moves like this from Instagram, Twitter, and others.

The fact that we're seeing accounts exploited this way is a great indicator that these additional measures are needed.

I have 8k and I got the notification about being a high-reach account
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
31 months ago

I frankly don't understand why important features like this are "rolling out in coming weeks" as opposed to now.

Facebook (and Instagram as part of it) are so huge that they don't roll out new features all at once. Instead, they roll out to smaller areas at a time. This allows them to be sure things are working correctly before continuing to push new features out to everyone. It's a smart way to do things.

If you've ever wondered (or are one of those that gets upset) about Facebook, Instagram, and others who release new updates to their apps every week and just have "Bug fixes and other updates." in the release notes, these updates are what add the ability to push those new features. They don't want to announce those new features in the update because then they can't roll them out gradually. You'd have a bunch of people complaining "WHY ISN'T IT WORKING ON MINE!!!! ‽??!!"
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Heckles Avatar
31 months ago

Google Authenticator doesn't have the recovery code in all cases. I remember having to guess whether wiping and restoring my phone from a backup would save it... turns out it does but only if I encrypt my backup. This kind of thing can't be left undocumented!

Not the authenticator, the service you’re using it for. If you use an authenticator app for gmail, you get recovery codes, same with Dropbox, Facebook, and others.


Being pedantic, if there is a recovery code, technically it's 1-factor auth and not 2. But still safer because you'll likely keep that code more securely than you would a password.

It’s still 2 factors.
Factor 1: your password
facror 2: the one time password OR the recovery code.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
31 months ago

Never understand authentication apps. I was using one for a while for 3 accounts. Got a new iPhone installed the app and it was reset. Lost 3 accounts because I couldn’t get back into them. For the average user phone number should be more than enough. I mean seriously who the hell is going to hack my SIM card. Come on.... I can see a use for it for users not wanting to hand over their phone number to shady services but maybe you shouldn’t be using those services anyway, just a thought.

You can switch the Google Authenticator app from phone to phone. Just follow the process on the Google Authentication webpage to transfer everything over to the new phone and it'll work just fine.
[doublepost=1535482405][/doublepost]

Wonder what they consider "large accounts". Nearly every one of my accounts has over 20k followers, with most well over 100k. Certainly the +100k will be considered large but I wonder what the cutoff is on the lower end.

Well, that answers my question. Logged into one of my accounts and got this message for "high engagement accounts like yours."

Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
31 months ago

While you aren't wrong, features like two factor isn't something most people use (they should but they don't). More people pay attention to new features on a launch date. And if the feature cannot be used, they tend to be forgotten.

And besides, Instagram's parent company Facebook had TOTP authentication for years. While things can always go wrong and rolling out in phases is safer, I think Instagram is taking more precaution than is warranted.

Also, let's not forget that some big companies, such as Apple, roll out major features to everyone on day 1.

It's not like this change is making major news. Most will never see this announcement on sites like this.

Instagram is already putting announcements within the app and they'll likely add a Story about it too when it rolls out to those chosen users.



I'll be surprised if they don't prompt users to enable it when it becomes available to them too.
[doublepost=1535495722][/doublepost]

Interesting! Did you get the notification recently?

I got the above notification the most recent time I opened the Instagram app.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
ipad pro 2021 mysmartprice cad

Allegedly Leaked 2021 iPad Pro CAD Images Suggest Few Design Changes

Tuesday January 12, 2021 3:38 am PST by
Tech blogs 91mobile and MySmartPrice on Tuesday posted a series of allegedly leaked factory CAD images of Apple's upcoming fifth-generation 11-inch iPad Pro. Rumors suggest Apple plans to announce two new iPad Pro models in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions, and today's images offer perhaps the clearest indication yet that Apple's next-generation iPad Pros will have minimal, if any,...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
mac anti reflective coating issue

Apple's Anti-Reflective Coating Repair Program Still in Effect for Some MacBooks With New Mail-In Policy

Tuesday January 12, 2021 10:07 am PST by
In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple recently informed its network of Apple Authorized Service Providers that mail-in repair is now required for Mac notebooks with anti-reflective coating issues in the United States. The new policy went into effect January 4, 2021 and means that customers who take an eligible 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro exhibiting this issue to an Apple...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
whatsapp wallpapers 1

WhatsApp Affirms User Privacy Following Backlash Over Data Sharing With Facebook

Tuesday January 12, 2021 6:39 am PST by
Following backlash after changing its terms and privacy policy to consolidate a significant amount of data sharing with Facebook, WhatsApp is now assuring users about the privacy measures built into its app. Last week, WhatsApp began informing users of updates to the app's terms of service and privacy policy. The updated agreements, which users must consent to in order to continue using...
apple racial equity justice initiative propel center render 01132021

Apple Launches New Nationwide Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects

Wednesday January 13, 2021 4:08 am PST by
Apple today announced a set of new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color. Rendering of the Propel Center The projects include the Propel Center, a global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), an Apple ...