I’ve been overwhelmed with the kindness and support after my Instagram account was h**cked.
I have been very fortunate to be able to get my account back, with a lot of perseverance, help from Harrogate lovelies and a touch of good luck.
Here’s how I managed it and how you can help protect yourself too!
How I got my account back
The hackers posted a Story on my Instagram account asking for Bitcoin investment (which is something I have never been involved in). Thankfully due to so many people knowing I’d been hacked lots of people contacted me to let me know the hackers were posting.
This quick alerting led me to be able to see that the hackers had changed the name of my account to HarrogetaMama (deliberately spelled wrong) – and they were trying to extort money from my followers asking for investment in Bitcoin.
The recovery of my account
The recovery of my account was two-fold; firstly I could see what the account had been re-named to.
Secondly, because the account was live, after being ‘taken down’ by the hackers for a period of time, the Instagram selfie-verification process was able to work. This meant I could received retrieval links and codes from Instagram, albeit in Turkish, which I had to translate using Google to gain access!
As I now had the name the account had been changed to I was able to enter that into Instagram along with the using the links and codes from Instagram!
After over two hour’s work between my husband and myself we managed to get back into the account. We have now changed the username back to HarrogateMama, changed the email address linked to the account and set up the two factor authentication.
How you can protect yourself from being H*cke*
1 – Passwords
Seems an obvious thing, but worth a re-cap. Don’t have the same password for any two things. Make sure your passwords are unique and unusual. Keep your passwords safe in an App, such as Apple Passwords and keep them up to date. Change them regularly. If you have an App to do this, you won’t need to remember them all the time, so long as you keep them up to date.
2 – Cover your bases
If you use Instagram for your business, it’s a good idea to also have a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and your own web space if you can. That way, all is not lost if you do fall victim.
Remember; you don’t own your social media account, Meta does – so it’s always good to have a back-up. Not only can you be hacked, but Meta can also take it away from you. If you’re a business think about spending some time on your mailing list, which will be something you do own.
3 – Two Factor Authentication
This is the MOST IMPORTANT one. I thought I had this set up on my account. I didn’t – if I’d had this my account wouldn’t have been so vulnerable.
Meta (the parent company of Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp) say that they give us all the security tools required to look after our accounts. They’re clear that if you choose not to use them you leave yourself vulnerable. However, I have a degree, and a background in social media and even I found the Two Factor Authentication difficult to set up on my Instagram account. They don’t make it easy.
If you value your account, my advice would be to stop whatever you’re doing now and set this up. Details on how to do this are on Instagram’s Helpdesk.
4 – Be Vigilant
The people targeting accounts are experienced, skilled, clever, and crafty. I was caught in a phishing scam (despite someone telling me of a similar experience only days before!). Phishing is someone pretending to be someone they’re not to catch you out online. The account that phished me was pretending to be Meta. I was distracted and in haste I replied to them and gave away information I never thought I would. So, I would urge you to take a breath before hitting that reply button. Check who the message is from, check their following, check their photos. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right! Block them and report them.
Things you can also do
1.Back up your data
If you want a copy of everything you’ve shared on Instagram, you can request a download of your data in a machine-readable HTML or JSON format. You’ll need your Instagram account password to request this information. You can find more information on how to do that at the Instagram helpdesk.)
2 – Email your MP
Facebook/Instagram do provide MPs with a dedicated email address to raise concerns, so contact your local MP to ask for help. You can also ask them to keep raising the issue about ‘Big Tech’ and their lack of accountability as an on-going concern.
3 – Visit the Cyber Aware website for more information
There’s some more details from North Yorkshire Police attached. And you can find more online at the Cyberaware website.
4 – Attend an Event
Officers from the Economic Crime Unit at North Yorkshire Police are hosting a series of events inviting members of the public to attend to learn about fraud and ask questions.
This is an informal evening. Tea and Coffee will be provided.
Tickets are free and it takes place on Tuesday 18 October 2022 18:00 – 20:00 at Skipton Building Society – Principal Office, The Bailey, Skipton.
Thanks again for all your support whilst this has been going on. The swift action of so many people alerting me to the hackers posting meant I could get my account back. I have been overwhelmed by the Instagram community supporting the creation of my new account whilst all this was going on. Thank you 🙏