Instagram account held for ransom by online criminals

Whether you’re a fashion house, food-business or fitness coach, Instagram can be fantastic way to connect with people who share your interest. But would you know how to spot a hacker?


The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recently shared news of an attack on the Miss England beauty pageant’s Instagram account www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/weekly-threat-report-5th-february-2021.


Hackers demanded a ransom after tricking the organiser into handing over details before demanding she make a deal to access the account again after they changed the password.


The account was thankfully restored to the owner after contacting Action Fraud, the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.

If you’re worried that your organisation’s Instagram account might be at risk, we can help. Please email enquiries@nebrcentre.co.uk and our cyber security professionals will be happy to speak to you one to one or answer any questions.


Learn how to spot a scam

To avoid something like the Miss England attack happening in your organisation, brush up on the signs of a phishing attempt. Read the NCSC’s guidance on dealing with suspicious emails, phone calls and text messages www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/suspicious-email-actions


The main thing is to remember is to never click on links is unexpected messages.


Set up two factor authentication

The NCSC recommends setting up two factor authentication (also known as 2FA). This means that your Instagram account will send a message to your phone or a different email address if there’s something suspicious going on like a login from an unusual device.

Read the NCSC’s guide to setting up 2FA www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/setting-two-factor-authentication-2fa

By just taking a couple of minutes to protect your Instagram account, you could save yourself and your brand from harm, and keep creating the content you love!



The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) are working together to support the establishment of Regional Cyber Resilience Centres (CRCs). The CRCs represent a significant opportunity for the NCSC to expand the reach of its guidance and services to smaller organisations across the country and provide an extra level of practical support to enhance their impact. The NCSC is currently assisting the NPCC in determining the suite of cyber security services that the CRCs will be able to offer.