A Queensland photographer says it feels like his business burned down after scammers wiped seven years of images and customer orders from his social media page.
Caloundra man Doug Bazley said the cyber attack took over his Facebook business page using a tactic experts say is becoming more common.
Mr Bazley said the page was lost at the weekend after he clicked on a link sent to his inbox which appeared to be from Meta Platforms, the company that operates Facebook.
“This Meta thing came up and it said to me, you need to go into this link to fix this problem,” Mr Bazley said.
“I hit that link and that was the start of the end, the page just went black, it disappeared.
“Then it changed the profile photo and changed the name and I had no access to my account.”
Mr Bazley said it was devastating to realise he had lost many years of hard work.
“It feels like your business has just burned down,” Mr Bazley said.
“I spent seven years building that and had about 16,000 followers.
“I love to share and post photos of our travels around Australia.
Scale of attacks overwhelm experts
Tahlia Rehua’s hairdressing business at Logan fell victim to the same cyber attack a day after Mr Bazley’s.
“I lost my personal and business pages on Sunday,” Ms Rehua said.
“I got a notification to say my Facebook had been suspended because the account didn’t adhere to the Facebook rules.
“I remember getting a message from Meta Business that I clicked on the day before.”
Ms Rehua said she felt angry that 17 years worth of social media content had been lost.
“I felt pissed off, I knew how many years worth of conversations and posts were lost,” she said.
“But also how much work it was going to take to fix it.”
Cyber support expert Dave Lacey said he felt for the victims as his business was struggling to keep up with demand.
“It’s happening a lot,” Mr Lacey said.
“This is his livelihood, this is his life and it’s just slipping through his fingers.
“The reality is we’d love to be able to help everyone but we can’t we can’t because of the scale, the volume.”
Security measures key
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is an annual reminder for all Australians to stay secure online.
The federal government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre says this year’s focus is on four simple steps people can take to boost their cyber security.
They include updating devices regularly, turning on multi-factor authentication, backing up important files and using pass phrases and password managers.
Mr Bazley hoped his story would serve as a warning to others who relied on social media to run their businesses.
“All I can say is people need to be very aware of what links they get and who they let in,” Mr Bazley said.
“I do all my business on there, I have lost every single contact and there was close on $3,000 worth of calendar orders prepaid and those names and contact details have gone.”
Mr Bazley said he had spent many days trying to report the issue to Meta and Facebook without success.
“I’ve not even heard a word from them,” Mr Bazley said.
“I don’t understand why Facebook don’t stop these, when you report them they say, ‘Oh we can’t see any abuse or anything wrong’, it’s just ridiculous.”
‘You’re inviting criminals’
Mr Lacey said social media users, especially business owners, were leaving themselves exposed by not having stricter security controls in place.
“Be very vigilant on what you click online, obviously and not be in a position where you’re inviting criminals in because you’ve clicked on a malicious link,” Mr Lacey said.
“And then they’ve got access to your username and passwords.
“Operate in a way that gives the best chance of survival going forward by having that multi-factor authentication in place.”
This content was originally published here.