As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, cybersecurity experts say there is another kind of virus that is infecting our livelihoods at an unprecedented rate: social media hackers.
The 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report, conducted online in partnership with The Harris Poll, reported that one in four Americans had detected unauthorized access to an account or device in the past year.
Just a week ago, the Bainbridge Township Fire Department apologized on its Facebook account after a spokesperson said someone briefly took over their account and attempted to sell it there. t-shirts.
From credit card information to phone numbers and email addresses, Dr John Nicholas said the data collected when a page was hacked was of value.
Nicholas is professor of computer information systems and cybersecurity at the University of Akron.
“It’s all sellable on the dark web, ”he explained. “[A] The password, depending on where it came from, can be sold on the dark web for between $ 12 and $ 39. So you can see that even if you have a million of the $ 12 passwords, it’s still a pretty good profit..
Mary Peplin, 22, has been trying and attempting to get her Instagram account back for over two weeks now.
The Cleveland nanny said someone hacked her account and started posting in an attempt to trick her followers into believing that she could help them make money with cryptocurrency.
“Now my face and profile are practically used to run a Cash App and Bitcoin scam and ruin other people’s lives,” she said. “It happens to so many people.”
Peplin said she received an email notification when her account was hacked, but by the time she tried to secure it, the link was broken.
“They acted so quickly,” she added. “They changed my email, they changed my password, and then they turned on two-step verification. There is absolutely no way to get in.
Although she was able to get her Facebook account back, Peplin said she still couldn’t access her Instagram account. Since she started trying to get her account back, she said she reached out to friends to say they were tricked into providing the hacker with money.
“I’m just a nanny,” she said. “I have to keep a healthy image and it’s not a very healthy image if people think I’m running a Cash App scam.”
News 5 has made repeated attempts to Facebook, Instagram and its parent company Meta about the hacks. News 5 asked what Meta was doing to help prevent them and how they were working to better restore the accounts to their proper owners. The company did not answer our questions.
To better protect accounts against this type of hack, Nicholas said everyone should take three steps to protect their accounts:
- Establish a strong password
- Enable two-factor authentication, where you use something like your phone to help you sign in
- A connection confirmation sent to your email address
“It’s going to slow you down and it’s going to be frustrating at first,” Nicholas said. “But it’s safe and it’s the only sure way to do it.”