My Instagram Account was Hijacked

Stolen Instagram Account

My INSTAGRAM Account Was Hijacked

MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT for my Architectural practice WAS HIJACKED WITHIN 8 HOURS OF USING MY INSTAGRAM USER ID AS A LINK FROM MY INSTAGRAM SOCIAL BUTTON. This may be coincidence but this is now the second time my site has been hijacked and each time it was just after adding the Instagram user id to my WordPress Blog’s social follow button plugin called “AddToAny”. My advice is to do this may pose a serious risk.

What I Did To Get My Hijacked Instagram Account Back

I am now waiting on a reply from Facebook help. It proves how much I knew about Social Media. Before my fist Hijacking I hadn’t even picked up on the fact that Facebook owns Instagram.  If this follows the pattern of last time I tried to resolve a problem like this it will take a week or so before I get a reply, then another week of useless advice just asking me to do the things I already have tried such as using username or email address to reset my password. This cannot work if both your username and password has been changed by a hacker/hijacker. Suddenly my account is in-accessible to me as it is now owned by someone called “Merlin”.  Magician?… no…. a bloody nuisance and thief. Luckily this time I have the email address of the technician from Facebook from the first Hijack….so I should save some time. Just finding out how to contact Facebook is tricky in itself. The only way I managed this was to go through the self-help sequence offered by Instagram for Hijacking or Hacking.  After clicking all the boxes (some of which weren’t actually applicable) there was a choice right at the end to send an explanatory email to Facebook for help.

I Could Not Log into My Instagram Account

I discovered the problem when I couldn’t login this morning. I tried the recommended method of using your username or email address to get a password reset but this didn’t work as the thief had changed both.  I finally  tracked my account down as I had a hashtag grantlucasarchitect on a couple of my pictures. These were still indexed by Instagram.  If you are Hijacked and cannot get a password reset because they have changed your username, password and email, you can still track down your missing site by starting up a new Instagram account and then searching for some unusual hashtags you may have used. Once you have done this you can at least recover some of the information your site held…. like followers names and the text and hashtags you added to your photos.

Who is Pictaram?

After lots of time googling I discovered that my first Instagram account pictures now seem to be available on a website called “Pictaram”.  Pictaram is a .net website.  I will not type it in full in this blog has I don’t want any links to it.  I tried tracking down who owns this site but couldn’t find anything.  This seems to be something that has been happening as far back as 2015.  Pictaram aren’t anything to do with Instagram and I am not sure of what motive they would have for hijacking accounts. There does however appear to be a long pattern of theft from Instagram followed by posting of that information on Pictagram.

Backup Your Instagram Business Account

The first time this happened it was easy to just start again with a new account as I only had a few pictures posted.  I had backups of my pictures elsewhere so I just duplicated everything.   This was a business Instagram and so  I had carefully thought about the descriptions and hashtags I had put on each photo.  This takes time, so it really is something you don’t want to have to do again.  After the first Hijacking  I had luckily kept all the description and hashtag information in a .txt file on my Desktop computer. I also kept a separate folder for copies of all the photos I posted.  I had been posting from my PC as it meant I had access to better editing tools for my pics so a backup was easy.  This way if it comes to the worst and Facebook cannot fix it I can then put everything back piece by piece.  This time I will try to see if I can resolve it through Facebook as I have put enough posts up now that I really don’t want to start again. The important thing to take away from this is that a backup of some kind is a good thing. I also will not try and link my Instagram to my website with the “Add To Any” follow plugin ever again as this seems the most plausible reason I was hacked…. some things are just best left alone.

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