Instagram tests easier ways to recover hacked accounts

It'll also safeguard your user name against hijacks.

Instagram might offer a little more reassurance if your account is ever hijacked. The social network is testing a new in-app account recovery process that should make it easier to recover an account -- and make it harder for thieves to get away with the act in the first place. Where you presently have to either wait for email or fill out a support form, the updated approach uses the app to ask for different types of info (such as your original email address or phone number). You'll then get a six-digit code sent to the contact info of your choice, and Instagram will then prevent hackers from using email or phone number codes to take over your account from a different device.

This new method would ensure that you could recover your account even if an intruder has changed the user name and contact data. To that end, Instagram is offering a safeguard that ensures a user name can't be claimed for a "period of time" after account changes, whether it's a hack or a voluntary change.

It's not certain when the in-app recovery will be widely available, although the user name lockdown is available to all Android users now and deploying to iOS users. However, the goal of the new recovery process is clear -- Instagram is hoping that you can eventually recover an account entirely within the app, rather than leaning on the security team.

The timing could be vital. Instagram account security has been a sore point as of late with word of exposed passwords and growing intrusion attempts. This won't prevent account hijacks, but it could discourage perpetrators hoping to take advantage of vulnerabilities in the current recovery approach.