In a segment on This Morning today (May 12) entitled How To Protect Your Social Media Accounts, presenter Rochelle Humes, who was filling in for usual presenter Holly Willoughby, alongside Phillip Schofield, was horrified at a story described by a colleague in which her Instagram account was hacked and taken over by sinister scammers.
Staff member at This Morning, Fleur, described how she lost control of her social media account by unknowingly clicking on a scam link. She said: “As soon as I clicked on that link, (the scammers) took over my account completely.”
She continued: “They changed everything, even the email address so I couldn’t recover it, they just took over.” Phil asked Fleur how convincing was the link she inadvertently clicked on?
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Fleur replied regarding the message, which was seemingly from a friend. She said the message read: “‘I’m being put up for an ambassadorship for influencers, please vote for me’, and I did, and I lost my Instagram account. It was as simple as that.
Instagram hacks are very common. In January 2022, ZDNet.com reported on a new phishing campaign identified by Secureworks. It reported: “After gaining control of the Instagram account, the threat actors change the password and username. The modified username is a variation of ‘pharabenfarway’ followed by a number that appears to be the number of followers for the hijacked account,” Secureworks explained.
“The threat actors add a comment to the profile that ‘this Instagram account is held to be sold back to its owner.’ The comment includes a link composed of a shortened WhatsApp domain (wa . me) and a contact number. Clicking the link opens a WhatsApp chat conversation prompt with the threat actors. The threat actors also contact the victim via text message at the phone number listed on the account and start negotiating a ransom in exchange for access to the account.”
Cyber security company, McAfee advises some steps to protecting your social media accounts from hackers:
1. Set strong, unique passwords.
2. Make your accounts private.
3. Say ‘no’ to friend requests from strangers.
4. Think twice about checking in publicly somewhere.
5. Remember the internet is forever.
6. Beware of phishing scams, don’t follow links from strangers and never give our personal details.
7. Keep an eye out for scams of all kinds – DMs, Ads etc.