Malaysian singer-actress Joyce Chu has just lost her Instagram account to malicious hackers, the latest celebrity to be targeted by cyber attackers.
Chu, 21, decided to alert her fans via Facebook Live on June 30 after discovering that she had lost access to her Instagram account (@joycechu_syc), which was hacked on June 29.
All her posts have been deleted and 811,000 of her Instagram followers are now at risk of being compromised. She estimates to have lost over 8,000 pictures. The account has also been renamed (@mustafayavuzonline_ ) and the profile photo has been replaced (with the picture of a hand holding a pistol with a finger on the trigger).
The problem began when she mistakenly clicked on a link from a fake Instagram account inviting her to claim a blue tick verified badge from Instagram. After that, some of her followers reported receiving similar scam links.
It was a huge blow to the Johor-born artiste who has been maintaining the same Instagram account since her early teens. Unfortunately, the cyber attack did not end there.
The hacker has continued to harass her and threatened to hijack her Facebook account which has about 1.6 million followers. That compelled her to lodge a formal police report in Taiwan on July 2.
“I felt a need to lodge a police report as I received a message from the hacker via my personal number. This person has attempted to contact me directly and continued to make demands,” Chu said.
While she is very upset about her Instagram being hacked, Chu said it is not just about losing pictures, but all the memories she has accumulated since her early teens.
“I started my Instagram when I was about 13 or 14, so it encompasses many years of memories, including the time before I made my showbiz debut, even from my schooling days.”
Despite being alarmed by the attack, Chu said she still hopes to get her account back but will not be cowed by cyber-bullies and has no intention of paying any ransom money for the return of her account.
Meanwhile, she has set up an new Instagram account (@joycechu_backup), which has already accumulated up to 10.3k followers in four days.
As a celebrity who made her name on social media before she became an artiste, Chu’s songs regularly rack up millions of view on YouTube. Her latest hit song Fell In Love With You Ridiculously, which was released in January this year, has already notched 4.2 million views on YouTube.
Some of her most-watched videos include her 2014 breakout hit Malaysia Chabor (23.3 million views) and her catchy 2015 hit song I Miss U (48.2 million views), which has been covered by celebrities such as Korean singer-actor Jung Yong-hwa, mainland Chinese boy band TFBoys and Thai internet sensation Happy Polla.
Currently based in Taiwan, Chu has released three albums and 25 singles. Two years ago, she made her big screen debut portraying a teenage cosplayer in Singaporean coming-of-age flick Young & Fabulous (2016).