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Instagram influencers are using hackers to get their accounts back

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instagram influencers milan restaurantAP Photo/Luca Bruno
  • Instagram influencers with thousands of followers are getting their accounts hacked and held for ransom.
  • Hacked influencers told VICE’s Motherboard that Instagram has been slow to give them back their accounts, even after creators followed necessary steps for account recovery.
  • Some influencers have turned to ‘white-hat’ hackers to get their Instagram accounts returned to them, after being unsatisfied with Instagram’s slow process.

Internet celebrities who have seen their Instagram accounts hacked and personal information compromised say they’ve had to hack back in order to get their profiles returned.

Several “influencers” told VICE’s Motherboard that Instagram’s process to regain control of their accounts is so slow and difficult they’ve been forced to find alternative means to recover their profiles. Despite repeated calls and emails to Instagram to help them out, hacked influencers say they only get unhelpful automated emails in return.

Influencers on social media have turned their online activity into lucrative full-time jobs, hawking products from advertisers to tens of thousands of followers. These social media accounts, on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, have become key to their livelihoods and hackers have taken notice. 

I had an emotional breakdown,” influencer Cassie Gallegos wrote in a blog post. “I had worked so hard to become an influencer, to make the life I wanted to be living, I had partnerships with Hotels.com, PierHouse Key West, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Living Proof lined up to name a few. GONE. ALL OF MY WORK WAS GONE.”

According to the Motherboard report, many hackers gain access to influencers’ accounts by posing as brands interested in sponsoring or advertising. Using emails containing phishing links, hackers access an influencer’s Instagram account and change the email and password, which then locks out the account’s rightful owner.

But when affected influencers have reached out to Instagram to recover their accounts, the Facebook-owned platform has reportedly been unhelpful. Instagram’s policies say that without an account’s email and password, users need to go through a verification process to ensure the user is actually the account owner. The process includes taking a selfie with a code Instagram sends directly to them written on a piece of paper.

Despite following appropriate steps, influencers told Motherboard their efforts were “to no avail.” One Instagram influencer said in a blog post she only gained back her account after fans and others also reached out to Instagram and piled on the pressure.

Instead, users have turned to “third-party social media experts” and “white-hat hackers” to help them recover their accounts. One such expert told Motherboard he has tricks to speed up the progress on Instagram’s end in recovering an account. Another method is identifying the person behind the hack, and then hacking that person as well in order to get the account back.

“We know that losing access to your account can be a distressing experience,” an Instagram spokesperson said in a statement. “We have sophisticated measures in place to stop bad actors in their tracks before they gain access to accounts, as well as measures to help people recover their accounts.”

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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