In recent days, an increasing number of Instagram users have taken to Twitter and Reddit with concerned posts expressing frustration about this very scenario: They find themselves unexpectedly logged out of their accounts and unable to log back in. Then, they get the email from Instagram letting them know about the changed email address. In some cases, these changed emails show the Russian domain name (.ru). They have been hacked, although there appears to be no specific reason to why hackers are choosing the accounts, which vary widely in their number of followers and posts.
The tweet has over 200 comments, many of which express frustration from users who have been locked out of their accounts for hours, and in some cases, days, without Instagram taking action.
In its blog post, Instagram offers a few points of guidance. If you receive an email from Instagram, click "revert this change" and change your password. (Double check that the email is actually from Instagram.com before making the change.) Follow the standard rules for creating a strong password: Don't use a password you've used elsewhere; use a combination of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks; avoid using personal names or dates that are available publicly; and the longer you can make the password, the better.
Instagram also advises revoking access to questionable third-party apps. When you get back into your account, be sure to enable two-factor authentication (Settings > Two-Factor Authentication > Require Security Code). While Mashable reported many of the hacked accounts did not have two-factor authentication — an extra account security measure — enabled, some did.
Not all users have found Instagram's advice useful. In some cases, usernames and emails associated with hacked accounts have been changed. If that's the case, submit a request for help with account recovery through Instagram's Help Center.
If you're one of the lucky ones and your account has not been hacked, it can't hurt to change your password now for added security.
Refinery29 has reached out to Instagram for comment.