How to recover your Instagram or Facebook accounts

How to recover your Instagram or Facebook accounts

Vanessa.H author picture

by Vanessa.H

Customer Support Specialist

06 Jun 2024 · 6 minutes to read

Have you suddenly been logged out of your account and, for the first time, asked to provide a 6-digit verification code from an authenticator app to regain access? Have your usual 2FA codes stopped working and been labeled as invalid?

You might think the solution to this account mystery would be as easy to find as a cat video, but unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated. That’s why we’ve decided to explain what’s happening with your account, how to fix it, and provide you with tips to prevent this from happening again.

The Role of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

To begin, let me explain what’s happening with your account. When a website requests that we enter a verification code from an authentication app, it’s because a security feature known as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) has been enabled on our account with an authentication app. This feature is meant to help us keep our accounts secure, and stop other people from gaining access to it.

When we are the ones setting this security feature, we store a key to our account on the authentication app. With this unique key, the app generates time-sensitive codes, typically every 30 to 60 seconds. From that point on, each time we log into our account, we are required to provide our username, password, and the code generated by the authentication app at that precise moment. This triple-layered approach ensures that it is indeed us who is trying to access the account.

The Challenge of Unauthorized 2FA Setup

However, if someone gains unauthorized access to our account and sets up this security feature, pairing our account to their own authentication app, the 2FA codes for our account will only be generated on this person’s device, granting them exclusive access to the codes and our account.

When this happens to us, we can appreciate how well this security feature works. Since we’re the account owners, we’ve tried everything to get back in – resetting passwords and all – but nothing seems to do the trick. We even end up going around in circles on the Help Center website, without any clear answers on why we can’t access our accounts or what we should do to resolve the issue.

Steps to Fix the Account Issue

However, now that the issue with the account has been identified, we can proceed to the next step: how to fix this problem. Our following step should involve initiating an Account Recovery Process through the website’s Help Center. Since 2FA is a security feature that can only be enabled or disabled while logged into our account, we will require assistance from Customer Support to regain access to the account.

Initiating the Account Recovery Process

The Account Recovery Process is designed to help us users regain access to our accounts in situations like this. The processes may vary depending on how the website has set it up. They may involve steps like providing additional account details, previous transactions, or any relevant information that can verify we own the account. In some cases, additional documentation may be required, such as a government-issued ID (as required by Facebook) or a video selfie (as requested by Instagram).

Varied Account Recovery Procedures

When starting this process on the website, the available choices could differ based on the platform. Just like on Facebook or Instagram, we might find an option, such as picking the ‘Try another way’ alternative while going through the login steps. However, if we can’t find a similar option, we can always head to the Help Center or visit the Customer Support website for help.

Finding Answers in the Help Center

Once we’re on the Help Center or Customer Support website, we can use the search bar. We should look for topics such as what to do if our account is hacked, how to set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), or Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is not working. Additionally, we might want to try searching for issues related to Two-Factor Verification (2FV) or Two-Step Verification (2SV). While you might expect all websites to use the same name for this security feature, it turns out that this is not the case.

However, if we can’t find an answer using the search bar, our next step is to explore different support topics on the website. Usually, the instructions for recovering our account can be found in Security, Passwords, or Logging In sections.

Securing Your Account After Recovery

Once we have found and gone through the Account Recovery Process and managed to regain access to our account, we enter the final stage of securing and protecting our account. There are a couple of essential things for us to remember. Firstly, the hacker most likely already knows our username and password. Secondly, not all websites automatically turn off 2FA when they let us back in. Therefore, the first thing we should do to secure our account is to reset the 2FA security feature.

By doing this, we will deactivate the hackers’ 2FA and then reactivate it using our secure Authenticator App by 2Stable. In the same process, the key to our account also changes. As a result, we will be the only individuals with access to the codes for our account. The Authenticator App will now generate the codes locally on our device, even offline and without needing a telephone network. This approach ensures that our 2FA codes are always accessible to us.

Additionally, if we secure our Authenticator App with a strong password and remain cautious about accessing our online accounts only through trusted websites, we can greatly reduce the risk of falling victim to phishing attacks. These attacks aim to steal our username, password, and 2FA code in mere seconds. By taking these simple steps, the chances of unauthorized access to our login details drop significantly.

By using the Authenticator App, we not only generate the codes necessary to access our accounts but also safeguard our privacy. This app securely stores all of our accounts in our private iCloud account in an encrypted form. Additionally, an authenticator app should offer features that enable us to access our 2FA codes at all times, even if we lose or change our devices. Features such as end-to-end encryption, encrypted backups, private data storage, synchronization, and an easy-to-restore process are the key reasons why the Authenticator App by 2Stable allows us to maintain access to our 2FA codes at any time.

Choosing the Right Authenticator App

In situations where we encounter unexpected circumstances and lose access to our accounts or our 2FA codes, going through the Account Recovery Process will help us regain access to our accounts. Choosing the appropriate 2FA method, such as opting for a reliable app like Authenticator App by 2Stable, where security, privacy, and easy access seamlessly unite, can significantly enhance our online security experience. Think of the Authenticator App as your private virtual key to access your online world, making your online security simple and safe.

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