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22 December 2021

How Our Instagram Got Hacked

Now this is a story all about how my Instagram follower count got flipped turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there. I'll tell you how my Insta started promoting 10K Bitcoin out of thin air.

The story starts back in May when an Insta account featuring a photo of a dog started messaging me a bit. They just responded positively to my content, specifically engaging with what I was doing such as the cooking videos, and saying how it meant a lot to them etc. This back-and-forth continued for 9 months and they seemed a lot like any other person that DM's every now and then. Never anything creepy, just wholesome messaging.

I got a random message the other night saying they needed some help. My nature is and always has been to be very trusting and to actively want to help people (Which has burned me many times in the past so I'm trying to work on it) so I said of course and they said their friend lost their phone, so needed a number to send a link to to re-activate their account. I obliged and passed on my number and then sent the link without realizing what I had actually done is given them my own Instagram's Password Reset Link.

I didn't think much of it, but an hour later I made the fatal mistake of accidentally clicking "Yes It's Me" when I got a Instagram New Log-In Notification (Which is absolutely my fault - shame on me) while watching TV then nek minut all my information was changed and I was locked out of the account. I reached out to them as I honestly was really taken back and they said they'd give me the account back if I filmed myself talking about Bitcoin Mining working. So of course I said no because as dumb as I was, I wasn't dumb enough to do that and potentially encourage my audience to be scammed but it was all game over.

I followed the next steps of trying to get the account back but based on what I've heard there are just so many Insta accounts being hacked lately so I think I'll need to wait a good month or so and while I was initially able to get recovery codes sent, ultimately once the hackers (scammers?) put on their own 2 Factor Authentication it was game over. As a last ditch effort I even got to the stage where I showed my face for Instagram but it auto declined me twice and then I could no longer get a code.

I guess the takeaway is to know that unfortunately people are out there taking advantage of accounts that actively engage with their audience via DM's, but it never makes sense to pass on codes to other people, and it just takes a brief moment of lack of judgment or wrong click of a button to make these mistakes. I've honestly really beat myself up about this (I've never felt so fucking stupid) but these people focus / target accounts for almost a year at a time for a reason - it works.

So I hope this story helps educate others. We since managed to get our account back through getting media attention about the issue. 

- Warwick

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