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
41 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
41 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
41 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
41 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
41 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
41 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)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
maxresdefault

Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Tuesday July 23, 2019 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud. Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the ...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
airtag precision finding

AirTag Includes U1 Chip for 'Precision Finding' Feature

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:11 pm PDT by
Apple's long-awaited AirTag was finally unveiled today, and as expected, the small circle-shaped accessories can be attached to items like wallets, keys, and more to allow them to be tracked in the Find My app. As was rumored ahead of release, each AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip, and on devices that also have U1 chips, there's a Precision Finding feature. U1 Ultra Wideband chips are...
iOS 15 General Feature Yellow

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 6: SharePlay Disabled, Safari Redesigned and More

Tuesday August 17, 2021 2:12 pm PDT by
Apple released the sixth beta of iOS 15 just a week after the fifth beta, but the new update brings some of the most significant tweaks that we've seen to iOS 15 during the beta testing period. Safari Redesign Apple in iOS 15 beta 6 has added a toggle to move the Safari address bar to the top of the interface, which returns Safari to an iOS 14-like design and mitigates all of the Safari...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
2016 macbook pro flexgate b

Apple Faces Another Class-Action MacBook Pro ‘Flexgate’ Lawsuit

Thursday August 20, 2020 6:43 am PDT by
Another class-action complaint has been lodged against Apple, which claims that the company was aware of a MacBook Pro design flaw that caused some devices to have backlight display issues (via Apple Insider). The so-called "flexgate" problem was present in some MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017. The problem appears as dark patches along the bottom of the MacBook Pro's...