Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Now Cyber Criminals are Offering Social Media Popularity, at a Price

It's definitely a sign of the times.  In addition to all the fake lottery scams, long-lost relative leaving you millions, phishing schemes and virus malware, now cyber hackers and criminals have a new source of income.  New automated software and embedded code in viruses are aimed at piling up thousands of "fans" "followers" and "likes" for social media users who are willing to pay for an artificially raised profile.  This scam is growing so fast and becoming so popular that hacker websites and message boards are advertising Instagram "followers" and "likes" by the thousand, at prices up to five times what they are charging for ill-gotten credit card numbers.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Reuters

Link to article:

 Excerpt: "As social media has become increasingly influential in shaping reputations, hackers have used their computer skills to create and sell false endorsements - such as 'likes' and 'followers' - that purport to come from users of Facebook, its photo-sharing app Instagram, Twitter, Google's YouTube, LinkedIn and other popular websites.

In the latest twist, a computer virus widely used to steal credit card data, known as Zeus, has been modified to create bogus Instagram 'likes' that can be used to generate buzz for a company or individual, according to cyber experts at RSA, the security division of EMC Corp.

These fake 'likes' are sold in batches of 1,000 on Internet hacker forums, where cyber criminals also flog credit card numbers and other information stolen from PCs. According to RSA, 1,000 Instagram 'followers' can be bought for $15 and 1,000 Instagram 'likes' go for $30, whereas 1,000 credit card numbers cost as little as $6.

It may seem odd that fake social media accounts would be worth more than real credit card numbers, but online marketing experts say some people are willing to spend heavily to make a splash on the Internet, seeking buzz for its own sake or for a business purpose, such as making a new product seem popular."

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