A social media influencer in Singapore recently lost access to her Instagram after it was reportedly hacked and held hostage by an unknown hacker.
Clarie Teo, whose Instagram account @xclarieacaciateo had roughly 20,000 followers, discovered that she could no longer log in to her account on September 20.
Apparently, someone had changed her username, password and email address associated with her account, The New Paper reports.
Clarie Teo, a former member of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), became an instant online celebrity after she was featured in RSN’s monthly magazine in 2015.
The 25-year-old, who currently promotes beauty and fashion brands on social media, left the navy to study mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore.
According to Teo, the hacker had reached out to her via emails to inform her that her account had been hacked and that she must pay 410 Singapore dollars ($300) if she wanted to reclaim her account.
The hacker threatened to delete her account if she did not reply within three hours.
When she did not reply after 20 minutes, Teo received an email threatening to delete the photos and sell the account.
“As the emails were sent from overseas, I believe that they belong to foreign hackers. My account was secured with the two-factor authentication, but it still got hacked,” she was quoted as saying.
Instead of engaging with the hacker, she immediately reported the incident to the police and notified Instagram of the breach.
So far, it appears Teo has failed to regain her account as the link to her original Instagram profile has been deleted as of this writing.
She noted that she plans to create a new account using her original username.
The hacker is believed to have obtained her account information from her old accounts in popular virtual pet website Neopets, and social networking website Tumblr.
Social media expert Lars Voedisch estimated that the cyber attack may have caused Teo a significant amount of money as influencers with her clout size can earn up to $400 a post.
Meanwhile, a cybersecurity expert praised Teo for reporting the incident to the authorities and not giving in to the hacker’s demands.
Featured image via Facebook/Clarie Teo