Waterwise Botanicals – North county nursery’s Instagram was hacked by hackers, later demanded ransom.
Waterwise Botanicals is a specialty nursery in Bonsall, California with a large number of followers on Instagram. According to the social media manager, Julie McNulty, the strong follower base of around 16500 followers was a driving force for the business.
Julie said, on Mother’s day she got a message from an account named ‘Help Service’ that appeared to be representing Instagram. The message informed she was infringing on copyright laws, and that their social media account would be terminated within 48 hours if they didn’t reply.
Julie further explained since the message was from a legit account as it had more than 15000 followers. After which she clicked on a link to appeal her case, it redirected her to a screen identical to the Instagram login page.
Here she submitted the credentials only to find something was not right. Later she changed the password three times, but the account was already hacked and they changed the nursery’s contact number.
On contacting the hackers via a message to the number, they demanded a ransom of $600 Bitcoin to get back the account.
The nursery owner has decided not to pay the ransom amount. Days after they ignored the hacker’s ransom demands, the hacker deleted all the content on the account.
Waterwise Botanicals, have created a new Instagram account @Waterwisebotanicalsnow, with a two-factor authentication feature enabled, this will probably keep the hackers at bay in the future.
Julie does regret she did not have the backup of her Instagram account. According to her, she did contact Instagram via email but did not get a response.