Ex-S’pore Navy personality’s Instagram hacked, payment demanded to restore account

She wants to highlight the issue that social media accounts are not that secure.

Sulaiman Daud |Belmont Lay | October 1, 2018 @ 12:46 pm

A former Republic of Singapore Navy personnel, who became the face of the profession following some savvy marketing, is having her social media account held ransom by hackers.

The Singaporean woman, Clarie Teo, served as a Marine Systems Operator on board a Navy ship previously.

She has left the Navy to pursue her studies at the National University of Singapore, and these days, has become something of a social media personality.

Her Instagram account @xclarieacaciateo had over 20,000 followers before it was hacked.

Pics courtesy of Clarie Teo.

Hackers demanded money

On Sept. 20, the 25-year-old’s Instagram account was hacked by what Teo believes is a foreign syndicate.

Her account’s password, handle and associated email address were immediately changed, so she could not regain access.

Teo claimed that she had implemented two-factor authentication to secure her account, but it failed to prevent the hack.

Police report made

The hackers made demands of Teo by first using a German email account and then a Russian one:

Pic courtesy of Clarie Teo.
Pic courtesy of Clarie Teo.

The amount of ransom demanded to release the account back to Teo was US$300.

When Teo did not reply, the hackers threatened to delete her photos again:

Pic courtesy of Clarie Teo.

Teo reported the incident to both Instagram and the Singapore police.

Recreated old account name

As the hackers changed her Instagram handle, Teo created a new account with the old handle.

This is to prevent the hackers from keeping it.

In response to queries, Teo said the issue has not been resolved yet.

She said: “I’ve been in contact with the police, as well as, Instagram. But because the team working behind Instagram’s Help (desk) is huge, so it takes a while.”

“The help team also keeps rendering the wrong help. Instead of helping me restore my account, they kept sending links to reset my password instead.”

Teo also said she is putting paid social media collaborations on hold for the time being.

And if she cannot regain control of her own account, she is undecided about restarting her account from scratch again.

Advice she received

While Teo is still waiting for Instagram to “take action”, she said she would want to alert the public to the risks of having one’s online accounts taken over by nefarious entities.

She suspects hackers could have accessed her personal details and compromised login credentials via old existing online accounts that have remained dormant.

Teo said: “I have not logged into Neopets or Tumblr in the last decade, literally, but they became avenues in which those hackers accessed my personal information.”

“Unless you’ve taken the step to delete those accounts, they remain on the internet forever.”

She also said public WiFi networks are not secure and information can be retrieved from there.

Teo also said it is good to maintain good online hygiene by encrypting and changing passwords regularly, as well as investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and spending time to log off from devices, as well as refraining from using the “Keep me logged in” function for convenience’s sake.

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Top image courtesy of Clarie Teo

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve, although he is falling in love with Jodie Whittaker's Thirteen. He also writes about film and pop-culture, which you are very welcome to read here.

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