My escape from hackers: A personal guide to Instagram safety

My escape from hackers: A personal guide to Instagram safety

As a passionate small business owner, I understand the joy of crafting a brand and nurturing a community on Instagram. Chalke Valley Soaps, my own labour of love, has allowed me to connect with customers who share my enthusiasm for natural skincare. However, this journey has its challenges, some of which I've encountered firsthand, like the unexpected blackout that left me scrambling to secure my digital presence.

Let me take you through my own experience, a story that highlights the urgency of safeguarding your online realm. A little while back, my Facebook account, intricately linked to Chalke Valley Soaps' Instagram profile, fell prey to hackers. The ensuing panic was palpable. With over 30k genuine followers, it felt as if years of hard work were hanging by a thread. The uncertainty that gripped me during those days was a wake-up call.

The hacker's intrusion took a more insidious turn as my Facebook was hacked, leading to the instant takedown of my Instagram account. The attacker had created a sort of "dummy account" on my behalf, which left me locked out of my own account and unable to ask for help.

Escaping hell: How I regained control of my accounts

In the midst of the chaos that was the Facebook-Meta renewal, I found myself in a nightmarish situation – my accounts had been hacked, leaving me in digital turmoil. The entire landscape was a hot mess, and navigating through it felt like trying to find my way in a storm.

As the hacker took over my accounts, I was left powerless. The attempt to reach out for help through Meta support channels proved to be a maze with no exit. Despite my numerous efforts, I hit dead ends, and my frustration grew with each unsuccessful attempt. It seemed like my voice was lost in the cacophony of the digital realm.

Desperation led me to explore unconventional routes. I turned to platforms like Twitter and even reached out to local radio stations, hoping that my plea for help would reach sympathetic ears. I penned emails to Meta, poured my heart out, and sent not one, but two handwritten letters through the post to the main office in Ireland. Yet, my attempts to connect remained unanswered.

Amid this disheartening ordeal, a glimmer of luck shone through. A saving grace was the Facebook business account that was still accessible. Through it, I was finally able to connect with a real person via the Facebook Ads site. Describing the dire situation, I shared the harrowing experience I had been through. Their response was a lifeline.

Within days, the wheels of recovery were set in motion, and my Instagram account was returned to me. The sense of relief was immense, but the lingering question remained: which of my attempts had borne fruit? Was it the handwritten letters that finally reached someone's desk, or was it the digital connection through Twitter or local radio that triggered a response?

The answer remained elusive, but what was clear was that my persistence had paid off. The journey through the abyss had taught me that when the digital landscape feels like it's engulfing you, there's always a way out. It may require unconventional steps, determination, and a stroke of luck, but recovery is possible.

This experience has reinforced the importance of resilience, and I share this story with the hope that others faced with a similar ordeal will find encouragement. As you navigate the digital realm, remember that amidst the chaos, solutions often lie in unexpected places. And when all else fails, remember that your voice and determination can break through even the most daunting of barriers.

Lessons learned: Building resilience in the face of adversity

My experience has taught me valuable lessons that I now share with you. First and foremost, create a backup account with a similar Instagram handle. In my case, it was @chalkevalleysoaps.backup. This enables your followers to find you even in the midst of a crisis, and gives you a platform to explain the situation.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, consider my journey as a testament to the power of perseverance. Use every available channel, exhaust all options, and never underestimate the influence of your own voice. And most importantly, remember that there's always a way to escape the depths of digital turmoil and reclaim what's rightfully yours. Stay strong, stay resilient, and find your way back to solid ground.

When your social media falls victim to hacking, here are some practical steps to take:

1. Stay Calm: Panic can cloud your judgment. Take a deep breath and assess the situation.

2. Change Passwords: If you'r able to login, secure your accounts by changing passwords and enabling 2FA.

3. Reach Out on Multiple Channels: Use different communication channels to contact platform support.

4. Document Everything: Keep a record of your efforts, interactions, and communication.

5. Have a Backup Account: As mentioned earlier, having a backup account can be a lifesaver. It's a great way to stay in the 'Matrix' until your issue is being solved.

6. Educate Your Followers: Keep your followers informed about the situation through your backup account.

7. Seek Professional Help: If things are dire, consider seeking legal or cybersecurity assistance.

The power of 2FA: Guarding your digital heaven

One of the most potent shields against potential security breaches is 2FA (2-factor authentication). If you're yet to set this up, I urge you to pause and take action now. The few minutes you invest could save you immeasurable stress down the line. I speak from personal experience. When my Facebook account fell victim to hackers, it set off a frantic week of recovery.

By enabling 2FA, you're erecting an additional barrier. Even if someone gains access to your password, they won't be able to breach your account without the secondary verification – often a code sent to your phone. It's akin to a digital moat around your castle, deterring potential attackers.

One key opens all the doors: The LastPass solution

In the aftermath of my ordeal, I understood that relying on memory alone for passwords was inadequate. That's when I discovered LastPass, a game-changer. It securely stores passwords, generating strong, unique ones for each account. Just one master password is to remember for.

LastPass encrypts data on your device, ensuring only you can access it. It's like having a trusted digital assistant. In the journey to secure your online presence, this free app offers peace of mind, a single key to fortify your virtual kingdom. 

My bad experience has made me even more passionate about the security of my online presence. By sharing my story, I hope to empower fellow small business owners to be proactive in securing their digital realms. As you navigate the digital waters, remember that your business is not just about products and services – it's also about the trust and connection you build with your customers. 

If you find this article valuable, don't hesitate to follow us on Instagram @chalkevalleysoaps and share your insights in the comments. As you navigate your digital journey, remember: security is the cornerstone of lasting growth and trust. 

Stay secure and thrive!



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