Sorry for the lack of updates - I was on vacation the previous week and was mostly offline during that period. Well something interesting happened on the 24th of February when this email from Facebook hit my Inbox:
You requested your Facebook account password and the email associated with your account to be changed. This process was initiated by someone correctly answering your security question.
This was kind of a shock because it meant someone managed to hack into my Facebook account and also promptly changed the password and email addresses associated with that Facebook account.
Minutes later, I got another email from Facebook.
You recently changed your Facebook password. As a security precaution, this notification has been sent to all email addresses associated with your account.
If you did not change your password, your account may have been the victim of a phishing scam. Please follow the link to regain control over your account: http://www.facebook.com/roadblock/roadblock_me.php?u=500808182&n=6wzcGt&r=5&h=AQDUA6D
The second email was obviously a breather but the recovery process wasn’t as smooth as I expected it to be.
On the recovery page, I could see that my mobile phone number was still associated with the hacked Facebook account. I requested Facebook to send a ‘reset code’ as an SMS to that number to confirm that I am the rightful owner but that text message never arrived. I then requested the ‘reset code’ at one of my secondary email address but that mail never arrived as well.
Finally, there was an option to lock the Facebook account in which case neither the hacker nor I could access that Facebook account. That was the safest bet and, luckily, it worked successfully.
Your Facebook account has been locked at your request. We will contact you at the email address you provided as soon as we can.
So that explains why my Facebook Page and profile pages are currently unavailable. On a related note, soon after my Facebook account was hacked, that same person tried to gain control of my Twitter account as well but that account is still safe.
I use a fairly long and strong password with Facebook and it is near impossible for anyone to guess it. My guess is that someone managed to crack the ‘security question’ right and could therefore take over my Facebook account.
Facebook sends a ‘security alert’ over email immediately after your password is changed but since I was on vacation and was only occasionally checking my mailbox, I couldn’t react quickly enough and the account was gone by then.
Last year, my Gmail and Google Accounts were hacked and they were reinstated only because I knew some people at Google who went out of their way to help me.
In this case, someone from the Facebook support staff contacted me soon after I initiated the recover process and requested certain details. I sent the required information but that wasn’t enough to verify my identity.
They then requested a colored scanned copy of any government-issued identification like my passport or driver’s license. I have sent them digital images of the required documents and am now awaiting a reply.
The Digital Inspiration page on Facebook had 25k+ fans but it now redirects to the homepage - either the hacker deleted the page permanently or because I was the admin of that page, Facebook has taken it offline. It’s all very scary!
[Update] The accounts have now been restored. The Facebook support team has been quite responsive in this regard. They’ve also sent a list of guidelines to keep the account secure in future.