Denver woman’s Instagram account hacked and held for ransom

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DENVER -- A Denver woman is making a plea for help after her Instagram account was hacked and held for ransom.

Cassie Gallegos Moore is a travel blogger who has turned her passion into a part-time job.

"I've gone to Bali on $56 round trip, so I try and help people figure out how to do that themselves," she says.

Gallegos Moore has a blog, but makes most of her money off of her Instagram account.

She has 57,000 followers, or at least she did until one day they vanished. Hackers somehow got into her account and held it for ransom.

"Its my business, my baby, and now it's like someone set my business on fire. I have nothing," Gallegos Moore said.

The hackers demanded $365 to get the account back.

"They were like it's been disabled. We'll reactivate it right after we get payment, and I'm just pleading with them, I'll pay you, don't delete it," Gallegos Moore said.

After dozens of emails, Gallegos Moore and the hackers agreed on a ransom of $122, but her account remains disabled.

Nick Emanuel with Webroot, a Broomfield-based company that specializes in cybersecurity, says there are an average of 4,000 ransomware attacks made worldwide every day.

"It's almost like magic tricks. They want you to believe in that email," Emanuel said. "If bad guys can make money, they're going to continue to do this, and unfortunately there isn't an end to it."

Gallegos Moore is doubtful she'll ever get  her account back. She says Instagram appears unwilling or unable to help, and because of that, she says starting over from scratch is something she might not be willing to do.

"If Instagram doesn't care and it can be done that easily, it's like building a house out of matches. It's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when it will happen again," she said.

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