A CORK businesswoman has issued a warning after her Instagram page was hacked and held for ransom.
Charlene Corkery, owner of Box of Kindness, discovered on Monday that her Instagram page had been hacked.
On Sunday night the business owner received what she described as a very legitimate-looking message from Instagram which included a link to resolve an issue with copyright.
After filling in her email address, on Monday, Charlene received messages from followers who had included screengrabs of her businesses page which was now operating under a new name.
In the hope of retrieving the account, she got assistance from an expert who informed her that the hackers were located in Russia.
According to Charlene, such hacks are an ongoing issue on the platform.
With Box of Kindness set to mark its one-year anniversary next week, the account had accumulated over 14k followers on Instagram which was Charlene's largest platform for the business.
“These followers - they’re customers. It’s where we make our business. It’s where corporates have noticed us,” she said.
She said that about 80% of their sales would come through the Instagram account.
“We really were making strides because I suppose we cover everything from babies to birthdays to a bestie box for your friend and it really is sad,” she said.
“I know there are bigger issues than me and bigger hackings happening but for me, my whole business kind of commenced on Instagram.”
The hackers have since contacted her in order to demand a ransom for the account.
“They basically said they would give me my page back, which is very important, for €10,000.”
However, Charlene said she has little faith that the page would be given back to her.
Having exhausted all other avenues, a new Instagram account has been established for the business and within 48 hours, it accumulated almost 5,000 followers.
The new account can be found on Instagram @box_ofkindness.