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Exclusive: It was the middle of the night when the emails started banking up in Brisbane woman Anita Plath’s inbox.
They were all notifications from Facebook, saying someone had tried to log in to her account, the password had been reset, a new email address added.

“It was all done at 2.50am in the morning, so by the time I woke up and saw it, it was too late,” Ms Plath said.

A hacker had taken control of Ms Plath’s Facebook page and changed all of its security settings. They even added a physical security key – an authenticator – which needed to be put near any device trying to log in to her account. 

Anita Plath said she had made no headway with Facebook in trying to get control of her account back.
Anita Plath said she had made no headway with Facebook in trying to get control of her account back. (Supplied: Anita Plath)

Ms Plath spent a few frustrating days trying to follow Facebook’s online advice for regaining access to her account, but had no success.

Then, things suddenly took a bizarre and disturbing turn for the worse.

Ms Plath also manages several business Facebook pages for her work partner, Alan Dibble, who owns Dibble Locksmiths and its sister company Australian Security Brokers, which sells home alarms.

The hacker, gaining access through Ms Plath’s personal Facebook page, began wreaking havoc on these business pages.

All of a sudden, the profile photo on the Australian Security Brokers page was changed to show a young Asian woman.

Midriff bare, the woman was striking a provocative pose.

“They then attacked the Dibble Locksmiths page and put an even worse photo on that one,” Ms Plath said.

Part of an image hackers posted as the profile picture for the Australian Security Brokers Facebook page.
Part of an image hackers posted as the profile picture for the Australian Security Brokers Facebook page. (Facebook)

The profile photo, which is still up, shows a woman in lace underwear and a skimpy singlet.

But the worst was yet to come.

The hackers started posting pornographic videos filmed on webcams on the business pages, Ms Plath said.

“On each page, there was a link where you could click on to join their group,” she said.

“Those videos and photos started getting thousands and thousands of likes and people were liking the page too.

“Then the phone started ringing like crazy.” 

“The phones went berserk because the office phone numbers were on our pages. 

“We’ve got caller ID on the phones here at work, and they were all overseas calls. But when we answered there was no one there.”

A hacker changed the profile picture of Dibble Locksmiths' Facebook page and posted pornographic content.
A hacker changed the profile picture of Dibble Locksmiths’ Facebook page and posted pornographic content. (Facebook)

Ms Plath said the day the webcam content went up, her office was swamped with about 100 phone calls.

At the same time they were fielding the overseas calls, there were also customers ringing, wanting to know if they had seen the activity on their Facebook pages.

“We had customers phoning us, and then we had people from the Master Locksmith Association saying, ‘Did you know this is happening to your Facebook account?’,” she said. 

“It was just crazy, I was trying my best to get through to Facebook saying you need to close this down and you need to give me access back because I’m the administrator and I need to be able to control the content. 

“But there was no one to talk to, no way to contact them directly. I was furious.”

Anita Plath had her Facebook page hacked, along with the business pages that she runs, a month ago.
Anita Plath had her Facebook page hacked, along with the business pages that she runs, a month ago. (Supplied: Anita Plath)

Ms Plath said she reported the incident to Facebook as a pornography, hacking and intellectual property issue.

“The only time I ever really heard from Facebook was when they came back to me saying it’s not an intellectual property issue,” she said.

It has now been over a month since the pages were hacked, and all of them are still under the hacker’s control.

While the links to the pornographic videos had now been removed, the inappropriate profile photos remained, she said. 

As well as potentially damaging their reputation, Ms Plath said the businesses had also taken a financial hit as a result of the hack.

“It is affecting us because new customers are now not coming through Facebook Messenger to make inquiries that they normally would on a daily basis,” she said.

Ms Plath said had learned the importance of having a strong password and also setting up two-factor authentication – where users confirm their identity through a second device – as a result of the stressful experience.

“I want other people to know how vital it really really is to have a hard password because I didn’t put enough importance on that,” she said.

“Then, obviously, it’s good to have that two-factor authentication, which I didn’t know anything about before.”

9news.com.au has contacted Meta Australia for comment but is yet to receive a response.

New scam emails impersonating Australia Post

Scams to watch out for

Tips to stop your Facebook page getting hacked

  • Take action and report an account: People can always report an account, an ad, or a post that they feel is suspicious.

  • Don’t click on suspicious links: Don’t trust messages demanding money, offering gifts or threatening to delete or ban your account (or verifying your account on Instagram). To help you identify phishing and spam emails, you can view official emails sent from your settings within the app.

  • Don’t click on suspicious links from Meta/Facebook/Instagram: If you get a suspicious email or message or see a post claiming to be from Facebook, don’t click any links or attachments. If the link is suspicious, you’ll see the name or URL at the top of the page in red with a red triangle.

  • Don’t respond to these messages/ emails: Don’t answer messages asking for your password, social security number, or credit card information.

  • Avoid phishing: If you accidentally entered your username or password into a strange link, someone else might be able to log in to your account. Change your password regularly and don’t use the same passwords for everything.

  • Use extra security features: Get alerts about unrecognised logins and turn on two-factor authentication to increase your account security.

Source: 9News

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