Cybersecurity experts with extensive experience in ransomware removal always discourage the payment of ransom in ransomware attacks. The reason behind this advice is simple: How can cybercriminals that wreaked havoc on your system be trusted to fulfill their part of the deal once they have completed their objective, .i.e., got ransom. Recently, Instagram influencers learned this lesson the hard way. Kevin Kreider, an Instagram influencer and a fitness trainer, shared his experience on the recent Instagram ransomware debacle. When Kreider typed his login credentials and got hacked, he was served with a ransom demand of $100. Kreider thought that paying money in time could help him in ransomware removal and proceeded with the payment. However, there was no further communication from the cybercriminals and Kreider later found his account to be unreachable.
Kreider revealed that the cybercriminals used the alias ‘Lana’ during initial communications. Lana posed as an employee from a fashion business: French Connection. Kreider received a proposal for sponsorship and the company’s account was given via a link for further interaction. Unfortunately, the link contained phishing components that saved Kreider’s login credentials and took control of his account.
As a consequence, his followers –– more than 100,000 –– were gone forever. Since his fitness services relied heavily on Instagram, his business was in tatters. Fortunately, Kreider did not lose hope and continued in his efforts to gain access to his account. After some time, he was successful in his efforts.
Kreider is not the only victim. There have been several other such cases where anyone that uses his Instagram to generate income, is attacked with phishing campaigns for ransom. While Kreider was lucky, not everyone is that lucky; many users were unable to get back their accounts. Some experts sifted through Bit.ly and informed that the phishing link was clicked more than the 65 times.