The Cougarettes perform during a stoppage in play at a basketball game during the 2018-19 season. (Hannah Miner)

BYU Cougarettes Instagram account hacked and held for ransom

The Instagram account of the BYU Cougarettes dance team was hacked on Sept. 30 and is currently being held for a ransom of $1,000 to have it returned to BYU’s ownership.

The account was renamed“pharabenfarway79k” and the new description reads “this Instagram account is held to be sold back to its owner.”

The situation became known to the public on Thursday, after which The Daily Universe reached out to the hacker and current owner of the account through a WhatsApp link in the Instagram bio.

The hacker says no one from BYU has contacted them yet to retrieve the account. They said there was no particular reason they targeted the Cougarettes, it is just their “job to hack an account and sell it back to its owner.”

The account has over 79,000 followers and the last post from the Cougarettes was on Sept. 30.

The BYU athletic department says it is trying to work through Instagram’s help center and support channels to retrieve the account, but have not heard back.

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