Will Instagram photos be safe with two-step security?

Instagram is finally set to implement a two-step security system. The system would safeguard users against hackers, protecting them from problems the service has had in the past. 

AP Photo/Karly Domb Sadof
Instagram is demonstrated on an iPhone Monday, April 9, 2012, in New York. Instagram is set to implement a new security system in 2016.

Taylor Swift, 26-year-old pop superstar, and Kris Jenner, the mother of the Kardashian sisters, are both members of an exclusive club: celebrities who have had their Instagram accounts hacked.

Instagram’s new security feature aims to make them the last additions to the club.

Instagram will be implementing a two-factor authentication system to help protect Instagram accounts from hackers. TechCrunch first reported the new security measures late Tuesday and Instagram later confirmed the news.

Most security experts say two-factor authentication is an important measure for securing any online account. Instagram is adopting the added security measures as it continues to experience rapid growth in popularity and users, having surpassed Twitter in user base in September. The move is also vital as Instagram attracts more brands and businesses to its platform.

Instagram has a natural association with pictures of breakfast and lovable pets. But for many on the site, Instagram is not only a place for personal pictures. The social media service has become a marketing platform with access to more than 400 million users, attracting both small businesses and major corporations.

The Instagram for Business website totes positive advertising results for mega-brands, like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, and smaller brands like Petlove, a Brazilian pet e-commerce business.

Prior security measures required only an account name and password to log in, which left businesses vulnerable and without much recourse if their accounts were hacked.

Sarah Phillips, who ran the Instagram account @Food, spoke to Business Insider about how for five days in July 2015 she lost control of her account, which was the source of thousands of dollars in deals with brands like Starbucks and Kraft and the main source of advertising for her own online baking company. 

Ms. Phillips eventually regained control of her account after contacting people she knew inside Instagram, according to Business Insider. She never heard back from any official Instagram account recovery service. 

A two-step authentication system would help mitigate the risk for accounts being hacked for everyone – brand, business, or average user. 

Two-step authentication systems work by requiring an additional code when logging in from an unknown browser or phone. There are various methods for how to deliver the code. For Gmail, a six-digit verification code is texted to a phone and is required before a user can log in from an unknown browser.

TechCrunch also reported that Instagram might have experimented with reset codes that could be saved for future use in case a user lost access to their phone or e-mail.

Instagram's parent company, Facebook, along with Google, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Twitch, all offer variations of two-step authentication systems.

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