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My friends Instagram account has repeatedly been hacked. Someone is gaining access to her account, proceeding to change all the security information to lock her out. Then posts scam ads on her account.

We have the full phone number and email address the hacker is using to change the info to. The country code has the number origin to Nigeria.

We've contacted Instagram 3 times now by sending a video of her proving her identity. Everytime Instagram has unlocked the account for her.

These are the things she's done everytime she's gotten back into the account, but the hacker has somehow regained access, including by somehow bypassing and deactivating 2FA without 2FA asking for confirmation!

  • Change phone number back to hers (she has an iPhone)
  • Change the email address to a completely unrelated separate account.
  • Added 2FA to her phone number, which the hacker is somehow getting back into the account without triggering a 2FA code to be sent to her phone - we have confirmed the 2FA was setup correctly as it asked her for a code when I attempted to login
  • Manually logged out all other sessions on the Instagram account.
  • Changed password to a completely random string of characters (includes letters of varying case, numbers, and symbols)
  • Password of the old email account was also changed, before then completely changing the email address for the Instagram account.

Somehow the attacker has regained access everytime and has locked my friend out. We're unsure how the attacker is still gaining access, especially with all the info changed (except the username and phone number) and 2FA being enabled. All info on the account gets replaced by the attacker, including 2FA being disabled (we also know that the attacker is also re-enabling 2FA on their device afterwards).

I remember reading years ago about how some attackers had gained access to intercept/receive all messages on someone's phone, thus allowing them to take control of their social media (I don't recall who, but I believe it was a famous tech figure such as Zuckerburg). Perhaps a little far-fetched here as there's nothing significant about the Instagram account (few hundred followers as it's a personal account). We have tried sending text messages to her phone number, both with iMessage enabled and disabled, and she received them. She also received the 2FA code triggered by me when I attempted to login to the account.

How can we regain access for the last time and securely lock down the account and perhaps lock down whatever route the attacker is using to get in and take control. We're really out of ideas now.

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  • I'm not familiar with Instagram in particular, but is the account somehow being used as a "social media login" on anything? That site or app might be leaking the data to the hacker instead. Also, check if the account has any sort of administrator or parent account that the hacker has added. That sort of thing can be used to take over control of an account since that other account will have superuser access to hers. I half wonder if the hacker is also saying their account has been hacked to claim it back, though, especially since the hacker appears to be reusing the same credentials? Mar 18 at 21:50

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I've been having this same issue: my problem wasn't so much getting back into the account it was more so that the hacker could always just lock me out again.

Last night I tried steps from a video I found which included removing linked accounts from the accounts centre which you can find in your settings if you log into Instagram via your browser (perhaps use a laptop).

This video has been the most helpful to me as so far the hacker has not been able to regain access. (Although its been less than a day so I am still cautious).

I'll include a link to the video that helped me but in case you're paranoid about links right now (I know I am) you can search up the video yourself; it is called "How to recover hacked Instagram account fast 2022" uploaded by 'Ariellevate'. I hope this helps, let me know if it works! :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wP425KDDqs

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Probably either its one of the problems that got already mentioned in the comments, or the source is hidden deeper and her phone or other devices have a virus or similar (spyware, keylogger, stealing cookies (but for changing the data you need a password) etc) with which the hacker could regain acces to her account

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