Whether it’s being locked out of your social media account or losing swathes of personal data, hacking can cause innumerable problems for its victims.

Now Instagram has taken steps to ease the pain through a new account recovery system that helps users who fall prey to the fraudsters.

Until now, all users registered with the image-centric platform must send a unique verification code to the company’s security branch before access to their account is restored.

However, a new in-app option is now being trialled which allows locked out users to send contact details linked to their account, to Instagram in return for an access code. The code is designed to work even if the account in question has been the target of hacking, and access details have been changed.

Currently, one form of verification that Instagram accepts, is an emailed photograph of the user holding up a piece of paper with their unique password written on it.

Following an account hack in 2018, one Instagram user asked a white hat hacker to help her restore order. She then blogged about the painful experience of trying to get her account back.

“As soon as I get kicked out of my account my profile photo, all of my photos on my feed, and story highlights start being erased from existence. I get an email stating that there has been unusual activity on my Instagram and that my email on file has been changed with a link to revert it back. Unfortunately for me, [he] changes my email back to his as soon as I get even a second back into my account. Thus, kicking me out AGAIN.”

“I feel discouraged and tired-I haven’t received any help from Instagram to get back into my account… So I haven’t slept. The only thing giving me hope are the emails and texts I’m getting from everyone about my hacked account and the endless stream of kindness and support I have received in these 48 hours,” she wrote.

“Getting the help is no easy feat though and honestly it requires sheer digital magic.”

Instagram has also now said that a time delay will be put in place before a username can be claimed by someone else, should an account become hacked or the authentic user decides to change it.

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