Hackers target Tripp Halstead’s Facebook page used by mother to keep his memory alive

JACKSON COUNTY, Ga. — The mother of a Jackson County toddler has kept his memory alive through a Facebook page named for him. The Tripp Halstead Updates page has 1.2 million followers who have been getting regular posts since 2012 when a tree limb hit the 2-year-old in the head, while at daycare, causing a traumatic brain injury.

Even though he died in 2018, the page has grown as Stacy Halstead has taken followers through her journey dealing with grief and moving on with life.

But that all changed two weeks ago when the page was hacked.

“I just went to make a post like I normally do, and there was nowhere for me to post,” she told WSB’s Sandra Parrish.

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The hacker removed her, her husband Bill, and her father as administrators and is still posting as her using old posts and pictures, but also including links to stories which she would never do.

“Most of the followers have been with us for so many years, they can tell it is not me. I never post news reels or just random articles about celebrities,” she says. “It’s a personal page about my family.”

Halstead’s own page was also hacked and has disappeared from Facebook altogether.

She hired a private hacking recovery company to try to get both back, which wasn’t successful.

She believes the hackers are using the links in the stories they post to generate money.

“It’s not quite easy to pinpoint the motivation right away unless it’s super obvious,” says Ramath Chellappa, an IT expert and Associate Dean at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.


He says hackers are usually after a ransom or some other way of making money from a site, have a vendetta against the victim, or use it as an initiation into a hacker’s group.

“It’s quite common to see many, many pages get hacked because we’re not usually careful with these kinds of passwords,” says Chellappa.

He says the best way you can protect your page on social media, whether it’s a private or public one, is with two-factor authentication where codes are sent to your cell phone.

Halstead admits she will be more mindful of security if she ever gets her page back.

“We will start changing the password every couple of weeks and things like that that we didn’t do before,” she says.

Even though she has sent multiple emails to Meta seeking help, none have been answered. A local spokesman tells Parrish the company’s security team is looking into the case as is Georgia’s Attorney General’s Office.

Halstead is thankful her followers are standing with her.

“It’s so frustrating, but my followers have been great—the ones that know what’s going on. They’ve tried to report; they’ve tried to block; and keep asking what they can do to help,” she says.

Halstead is asking all the followers to snooze Tripp’s page for 30 days until hopefully she can get it back.

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Sandra Parrish

Sandra Parrish

News Anchor Reporter for political, legislative, transportation, and educational news.