If you follow us on the socials you may already be wondering why we’ve been very quiet on Instagram recently. The reason is simple – on the 15th February a hacker managed to gain access, lock us out completely and then demand a ransom. It happened very quickly, with the hacker exploiting Instagram’s processes so that we never had a chance to block the changes they made to our account to lock us out. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but we believe our relatively early entry into Instagram meant we hadn’t taken advantage of the business account settings, and that the sharing of a single ‘personal’ account between staff left us exposed, without two factor identification.
The hacker has our account now and has renamed it @alwayswinner50k – although they have emailed their ransom demands calling themselves ‘Lucifer Dark’. No hacker cliches there then.
Our account of @singletrackmag simply no longer exists and believe us when we say we’ve tried every avenue open to us to recover it, without any success to date.
We have reported the incident to the police who recognise it as a crime of theft and extortion – but that’s as far as that goes. The Cyber Crime department didn’t know that the ‘Account Preservation’ system for law enforcement exists, and told us they would not submit a request for us. We have also managed to speak to a few real people at Facebook Business Support, who while being sympathetic and almost obnoxiously polite still haven’t actually resolved the issue despite the hacker quite openly flaunting his possession of the account and the fact he’s stolen it RIGHT ON INSTAGRAM.
We are now six weeks down the line from the hack and are still waiting for a response/update from Instagram on the issue. Which is why we’ve activated another account @singletrackmagazine and are contemplating the Hobsons’ choice of simply starting again. We’d love it if you’d follow us on that account, although we are still hoping we might get our old account back at some point.
Whatever your personal view on social media audiences there’s no escaping the fact that for modern digital media all audiences on social platforms are important to a greater or lesser degree. We had built us a decent audience of 50k+ followers on Instagram and that allows us to create and promote our content. In short we miss it and we’d really like it back.
What can you do?
Well, before we bite the bullet and start rebuilding we wonder if you wouldn’t mind helping us bring this to Instagram’s attention by reporting the hacker’s account to them.
You can do this by navigating to the hackers account in the Instagram app or via the web here. Click the three … at the top right of the page and then select ‘Report’.
While we don’t have great expectations here we are hoping your help might cause some kind of escalation/reaction from Instagram that will resolve things one way or another. If it does then we’ll keep you updated.
Also, please consider a membership if you can – that really does help us immensely.
I guess one crumb of comfort is that so far it doesn’t seem possible to hack a printed magazine, although it’s a lot harder to correct spelling mistakes after you publish them.