What are Instagram Zombie Accounts? How to keep your profile safe

What are Instagram Zombie Accounts?  How to keep your profile safe

When you check your Instagram account, you may see that you are following someone you have never met or seen before. In such a situation, you are likely to be surprised and assume that someone has changed their account name. You unfollow this account and think nothing more of it.

Unfortunately, attackers may have hacked your account and turned it into a zombie account. But what is a zombie Instagram account and how can you prevent this from happening again?

What are Instagram Zombie Accounts?

Cyber ​​attackers can hack your active account and use it to follow someone without your knowledge, get likes and comments on some posts, or increase your own following. Accounts that have been compromised in this way are known as zombie accounts.

This type of hack can be challenging to detect because your account is still active. Also, hackers can sell your account as your followers grow, which also increases its financial value. The problem of zombie accounts is not limited to Instagram: many other social media platforms are at the same risk.

Many Instagram accounts make purchases from sites that sell Instagram followers to reach a high number of people in a short period of time. If you do this, there is a risk that your account will also become a zombie account. Over time, you may see that you’ve been tagged in posts you’ve never seen, and you may even have “liked” them. Think of the situation as a spider web of zombie accounts, each following and liking each other, all at the behest of hackers.

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In addition, you can also see, over time, that the number of followers has decreased. These reductions are due to active users who have become zombie accounts noticing you and unfollowing you, just as you can unfollow accounts you don’t recognize.

How attackers hijack your Instagram account

How they steal your Instagram account

Often, attackers ask for permission to convert or hack your Instagram account into a zombie account, and you unknowingly give them this permission. How? Not all apps you download from app markets are completely safe. A very innocent looking game or a photo editor you download to edit your photos could be a front that will take over your social media accounts.

In fact, the process is quite straightforward. Consider the working logic of cookies in browsers. When you connect your bank account to pay your monthly payments online, a cookie is set. Consider this cookie the ID you have been given by the website you visited. If you have your bank account open in one tab and a website or application infected with malware is open in another, the maliciously infected website or application can retrieve the cookie information from your bank account. The attacker can then use this cookie information to obtain a new session from another machine.

Just like in this example, the front-end apps you download to your phone can steal your social media credentials without you ever realizing it. Because even if you think you’ve exited the application, all applications can run in the background as long as you have a charge.

Stealing login credentials means you don’t even need usernames and passwords. In short, by only downloading an app that looks innocent, you make the attacker’s job much easier.

In addition to all these, there are many clone applications and websites. For example, if you see an option in an application that says you can log in via your social media accounts, you should be suspicious. Because a link, interface and email that looks just like Instagram will be waiting for you. By the time you fully trust and provide your username and password information, it’s too late. Attackers will have taken over your account.

In fact, users are the biggest vulnerability in the process. Many feel the need to click on the buttons or links they see because it will take a few more clicks to open the official Instagram app. As you can see, phishing attacks are one of the situations where attackers use human psychology.

Control and keep your Instagram account safe

Ensure Instagram login security

If you suspect that your account is being used as a zombie account by attackers, you should change the password of your active Instagram account. After changing the password, all active sessions will be logged out. So the attackers have to hack you again.

The same rule applies to other social media applications. Change your password to a very difficult password. If you can see the active sessions and connected applications, log off all those applications and sessions as well. So you want a more secure account.

Another method preferred by attackers is phishing attacks. An example of a phishing attack works as follows. You will receive an email exactly as it came from Instagram. When you look at the address of the incoming email, you can see an official Instagram email address. The content and links of the email are completely taken from official sources. There is almost no difference with real Instagram post, so you trust and click on this message. The link you click can redirect you to any page, even your official Instagram account. But what you don’t realize is that the attacker has already taken the necessary login information from your system. That’s why you need to pay attention to every incoming email or file you download.

How can you keep your Instagram account safe?

You should check all the applications you have downloaded to your phone so that attackers cannot use your Instagram account as a zombie account. Don’t keep any applications on your phone that you don’t know, don’t work for you, and ask for your social media credentials.

Be sure to also enable two-factor authentication. This way, if an attacker tries to log in with your account, you will receive the password required to log in and block the attacker. In such cases, do not forget to change your password. Don’t use the same password everywhere, and change the password you use regularly. In addition to all this, do not forget to do the necessary security checks on your Instagram account.

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