Recently, the internet was rocked after famous Korean stars had their Instagram accounts hacked. Earlier in the week, actor Lee Do Hyun was a victim of an online hacker who deleted his posts and uploaded a series of their own.
On Wednesday, August 24, 2022, at 1 AM (KST), Lee Do Hyun’s Instagram appeared to have been hacked as his original uploads disappeared. Instead, a random mouse photo was posted with the caption, “owned by ratobot.” These posts continued as the hacker was posting random images onto the actor’s account.
The hacker then posted a picture of the actor promising to return the account to its rightful owner(s). Yet, before doing this, the hacker continually shaded Lee Do Hyun’s staff. They said that the actor should have “better advisors.”
Eventually, Lee Do Hyun’s account was returned to the actor and all of his images were safely back in the hands of the company after it was disabled shortly after the hacker posted.
After seeing the posts, many noticed that the hacker was continually using the hashtag “#ratobot.” Based on the activity, they appear to be targeting Korean entertainers. The user also shared that their next target was going to be IVE‘s Jang Wonyoung.
On August 25, IVE fans raised concerns when a Twitter account called @ratabot_offifical, which was different from the original accounts but linked to the hashtag, revealed that they had accessed Jang Wonyoung’s account.
The account then shared images baiting Starship Entertainment to protect their artists but also revealed that the next target was going to be BLACKPINK‘s Lisa.
Netizens quickly started to raise concerns and called out the user after the posts were shared on social media. However, when netizens went to the Instagram page of the so-called “hacker,” they were shocked to see an announcement from the user.
In the statement, the “hacker” claimed that he was being ordered to hack the celebrities’ accounts by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government ordered me to hack K-Pop idols’ Instagram accounts, and I had no choice but to follow the order.
China is a country without freedom of speech, and I am also Chinese, but I am very ashamed of China. The Chinese government ordered me to upload content to pretend to be a foreigner and praise China.
However, this order could not be rejected. If I refuse this order, I’ll disappear. I warned my family not to let the outside world know about this, and I told them that if it became known to the outside world, they would not be safe.
I’m an ordinary person who won the grand prize seven times in the world hacking competition. In China, you cannot access the overseas Internet including Instagram without VPN. It is a country with severe media control.
— Alleged hacker
The user then went on to ask for forgiveness and specifically apologized to those who had been affected. The account even had the text translated into Korean, but the presence of “Korean Translate by Google” seems to once again showcase he isn’t from Korea.
Lastly, I would like to express my sincere apology to Starship Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and Korean actor Lee-Do-Hyun, Sorry.
My family and I have entered a safe third country and are guaranteed safety. Artist, and fans, I’m so sorry.
— Alleged hacker
Yet, netizens have mixed views about this statement. In particular, past posts when Lee Do Hyun’s account was hacked seem to contradict that he is from China. The various accounts that seemed to be linked to the hacker seemed to show he was from places like Brazil, America, and Korea.
The account has now been deleted, and Jang Wonyoung’s Instagram seems to have not been edited like Lee Do Hyun. Starship Entertainment and YG Entertainment have yet to respond to the allegations of their idols’ Instagrams being hacked.
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