Norton UK Blog

« Back to Norton Blog

Hijacked Instagram accounts flooded with pornography

by Norton-Team

Instagram accounts are being hacked and used to lure other users to adult “dating” websites, while earning money for the scammers. Read how to protect yourself.

What has happened?

We reported earlier this year about an increase in fake profiles posting adult spam on Instagram, however in recent months the trend has moved from fake profiles created by scammers to already existing accounts that they have hacked.

Once lured to a hijacked profile by sexually suggestive images, users are encouraged to click a profile link disguised by a shortened URL that leads to the registration page for a site.  The scammers earn money for each user who signs up.

Hacked Instagram accounts - scam


How can I spot a hacked account?

Once hijacked, the hackers upload suggestive photos and change the biography to something equally as suggestive that instructs readers to click the profile link.  You may notice original pictures of the account owner if you scroll down the profile, as the hackers are unlikely to spend time deleting them.

Hacked accounts on Instagram


How are the accounts hacked?

We can’t be certain, but we suspect that weak passwords and using the same password repeatedly for different sites is the problem.  So far in 2016 almost 650 million passwords have been leaked through data breaches, so cybercriminals could be finding them from there.

How can I protect myself?

1. Use a strong, unique password like one created by our generator

2. Turn on two factor authentication for Instagram, if available

Instagram two-factor authentication


3. Report any hacked accounts you find to Instagram directly.

Lastly, share this information with anyone you feel could be at risk!

This entry was posted on Thu Aug 11, 2016 filed under online safety tips , online security , online threats and social media

The personal information you think is private may not be

It’s easy to be unsafe online-it’s also easy to have protection.

** Dark Web Monitoring defaults to monitoring your email address and begins immediately. Please sign in to your account to enter additional information for monitoring purposes.

No one can prevent all cybercrime or identity theft.

The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of NortonLifeLock Inc. LifeLock identity theft protection is not available in all countries.

Copyright © 2021 NortonLifeLock Inc. All rights reserved. NortonLifeLock, the NortonLifeLock Logo, the Checkmark Logo, Norton, LifeLock, and the LockMan Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NortonLifeLock Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and other countries. Firefox is a trademark of Mozilla Foundation. Android, Google Chrome, Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google, LLC. Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. Microsoft and the Window logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.


Follow us for all the latest news, tips and updates.