Welcome to an unusual mid monthly news and a huge topic today – Why we are NOT on social media anymore! Oh Dear! I felt the need to explain what’s been happening… in case some of you thought Nicholas and myself were changing careers and going into bitcoin farming….!!
Our Instagram account was hacked. We don’t have that many followers in comparison to some artists, but 4,000 wasn’t a bad amount, so it was sad to loose them all. I hold my hands up, it was my fault. But with the caveat, I thought I was clicking on a legitimate link in the message I had recieved. I know…I know. I can hear you all saying.. why did you do it?? An artist messaged me and said, can you vote for me please, I’m doing a competition and need votes. So I clicked the link. That was it. They were in.
I was immediately messaged from some of my lovely followers to tell me that I had been hacked and to report it. After about 2 hours and using the clever selfie video option Instagram provides if you have been hacked, we managed to login. We changed passwords and reset everything, deleted the bitcoin posts and we thought, thats it! We beat them.
Did we beat them? NO!
An hour later they were back, they logged me out and changed my login details. Another report to Instagram and another selfie video later, we managed to get back in. After some research I added two factor authentication, an authenticator, backup codes… you name it….. if they offered a security setting, I did it. I thought, they surely will never get back in now. I made a post with a photo of Nicholas and myself explaining that we were back in, we had been hacked and everything was fine.
Was it though??
No…Woke up the next day to an email to say ‘Your Instagram password has been changed’. They even had the audacity to delete the long amount of text I had written on the post to explain what had happened. I mean really?!!
Looking at the bigger picture.
This was now getting serious as I had no clue how they were getting in. Were they in my phone? I was petrified they had access to my passwords, my banking, my cards – everything!
A while ago Nicholas started using a secure company to generate and store passwords, so I logged into his account and started the task of going through every place I could think of online that we had ever logged into and changed the details. It created unique computer generated passwords. Even online shops and websites I knew that I would never use again, I changed the password, logged out and stored them. I haven’t done everywhere but I won’t rest until it’s all done. This has been taking a long time as you can imagine and in fact we got to bed at 12.30am last night after still changing passwords and such like.
So Back to the Instagram Saga….
I had one last look before bed … then I finally understood what they had done. They had disconnected my Meta Business Facebook account from my Instagram and added their own Meta Horizon account. This is key. This means that I can never delete my account, as that part is under the hackers control. It’s their meta account with their email address and as I don’t have access to it, I cant delete it and I can’t disconnect it from my account.
Sadly, although you can report certain things to Instagram which I have tried, they won’t really do anything for hacked accounts. You can’t talk to a real person. I don’t even have access to the selfie option anymore. Seeing as they are such a large corporation, they don’t seem to run their business all that well. From my own point of view!
Instagram… Facebook…X… Linkedin…Pinterest
Instagram is owned by Facebook and they are far too close for my liking. How easy would it be for the hackers to get from my Instagram to my Facebook account? I didn’t know. So in one fail swoop I deleted Facebook, X (formally known as Twitter), Pinterest and LinkedIn. I have also removed all links to social media on our website. We do still have our YouTube channel. That is the most important so we can continue doing little videos and adding them to our blog.
What happens Now?
I can’t quite workout what the hackers can really do with my Instagram account now. They of course have access to 4000 followers, however if you are one of those.. please unfollow me immediately. The account will probably be forever there with all of our artwork too which is the main worry.
I sometimes think you have to look at things in a positive light. It was an awful experience to go through. At points I was typing my password in at the same time the hackers were trying to change things. I was literally shaking, my heart was racing, I could hardly type in the boxes thinking, how could they be doing this to us.
But spin it around and at this point I feel I am in a much better position. Not only am I more aware of whats happening on the hacking and the security front, but I feel safer with my devices. My iPhone, iPad and Mac don’t store any passwords and we only use the secure password manager we have chosen. We have a VPN on all devices.
Is this enough? I have no idea. But what more can we do? I hope this doesn’t happen again, I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen to you. If this makes just one of you reading this to check their security settings in their emails or their socials… anywhere online, all the better. Stay safe out there! Read our previous blog post if you haven’t already! Melanies October Monthly News..
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