Death threat via Facebook
STORIES of friends "hijacking" their friends' Facebook accounts and posting "out-of-character" comments on an idle phone or computer are common and largely harmless.
But when a 14-year-old Grafton boy's Facebook account was hacked last Thursday by some kind of remote software, the perpetrator had more malicious intent.
The unknown hacker started chatting to the boy's female friends and became overtly suggestive about a potential sexual relationship, the boy's parents told The Daily Examiner.
When the girl "twigged" that the comments were not being made by the boy she told the hacker she knew it wasn't the boy "chatting".
"That's when it came out that this person was concerned that (the boy) was interested in a girl that he (the hacker) was interested in," the boy's stepfather said.
The hacker then told the girl that he was going to kill the boy whose Facebook profile he was using and rape another girl, he said.
"He (or she) even tried to get this girl to go out with (the boy) to distract him from the other girl," he said.
"It was pretty obvious that it wasn't him (the boy) straight away ... he (or she) seemed much more worldly and was really suggestive.
"It was manipulative and threatening, but still childish ... it certainly has been worrying for us.
"We are reluctant to let him out on his own now, even though he wants to get out there and stay fit.
"They (the hacker) could have been anywhere in the world but they seemed to be local and knew a lot about (the boy) and made local references."
Grafton police took on the case and visited the Clarence Valley school that the boy and girl attend.
"They told us that we would have to change, delete or deactivate the account for three months and to change the password immediately," he said. "The account is scheduled to be deleted today."
The NSW Police Force website contains a guideline for safely using social networks under the "Community Issues" tab. One sobering extract from the site says: "What you place on the internet is no longer private and is no longer under your control. Others may use it for any purpose they wish."