Instagram accounts hacked for ransom

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There are 18.4 million Canadians who use the Instagram social media app, which is almost half of Canada’s population.

Although the app is a great way for individuals and small businesses to share photos, videos and connect with followers, it’s increasingly being targeted by hackers.

“The hackers broke into my account and they changed my email address, and they changed my password so I couldn’t come back,” said Siva Swaminathan from Toronto, a chef who uses Instagram for her small business. company offering healthy recipes.

Swaminathan said she had been using the platform for seven years and had 2,500 subscribers, but was recently hacked and locked her account.

The scammers told Swaminathan that if she wanted her account back, she would have to pay them money.

“They held me for ransom. As soon as they did, they sent me a note on WhatsApp saying ‘we have your account, give me some money,'” Swaminathan said.

Burlington’s Arianna Hatzis uses her Instagram account for personal reasons and she was just hacked losing valuable family photos and videos.

“We rely on social media so much and when your account gets hacked there’s really not much you can do about it,” Hatzis said.

Hatzis said the scammers sent messages to his contacts promoting cryptocurrencies.

“I started getting messages from all my friends with screenshots saying your account was hacked and of course it was,” Hatzis said.

Instagram said it was aware hackers had access to accounts primarily b

Sam Andrey is the acting executive director of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Leadership Lab and said the best way to protect yourself is to use strong passwords unique to the platform, two-factor authentication, and don’t never respond to messages that appear to be sent from Instagram.

“Especially through direct messaging on Instagram where basically people are driven to provide information,” Andrey said. “Meta or Facebook will never message you in your direct messages asking for information that doesn’t happen.”

CTV News contacted Instagram and a spokesperson said: “We have sophisticated measures in place to stop bad actors before they gain access to accounts, as well as measures to help people get their accounts back. We know we can do more here, and we work hard in both areas to stop bad actors before they do harm and to keep our community safe.

With the help of Instagram, Hatzis was able to get her account back, but Swaminathan said she had to start all over again creating a new Instagram account from scratch.

Since Instagram is free, it’s hard to get through and get help when you need it. If your account is hacked, you should always contact the platform and notify your friends and family that your account has been compromised.

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