The infamous Zeus malware, which has infected hundres of millions of PCs since it surfaced more than five years ago, has been modified by cyber-criminals to generate fake likes and followers on Instagram, which can kick-start marketing campaigns and help brands create a buzz around their products.
The fake likes on Instagram are said to be sold in packs of 1,000 on underground internet forums where cyber-criminals also sell credit card numbers and personal information stolen from users’ PCs, according to security firm RSA, who spoke to Reuters.
RSA revealed that 1,000 Instagram followers can be bought for as little as £9.50 and 1,000 Instagram likes for £19. Similarly, 1,000 credit card numbers can cost as little as £3.80.
Instagram defended itself by stating that its technical systems detect fake accounts and likes and try to flag and block them. “We work hard to limit spam on our service, and prohibit the creation of accounts through unauthorized or automated means,” an Instagram spokesperson told Mashable.