By Francis Navarro, Komando.com
October 1, 2017
Cybercriminals are cunning social engineers. They love exploiting our connections, relationships and our innate trust in others. They also know that when we see our circle of friends or relatives “like” or “share” something in social media, we tend to factor in their opinions and oftentimes, we get influenced by their actions too, unconsciously or otherwise.
This also works with general Facebook posts. When we see a post that has thousands of “likes” and “shares,” it’s so easy to “follow the herd” and assume that it is legitimately popular, hence authentic and vetted for.
This is why the Facebook like-farming is such a big business right now and it’s still a growing industry simply because it’s profitable.
Now, watch out! Hackers and cybercriminals are finding ways to automate Facebook “likes” at our expense.
According to security researchers from McAfee Labs, a type of malware that takes over Facebook accounts to spread “likes” is on the rise and it’s spreading fast.
Dubbed as “Faceliker,” this trojan is spread via web browser redirections to poisoned websites loaded with the malware. It accounts for 9 percent of the 52 million new malware samples detected within the first and second quarters of 2017.
According to McAfee Labs, the program doesn’t do additional tasks like steal user passwords or spread additional malware on Facebook. Its sole purpose is simply to generate “likes” for specific posts.
“It hijacks Facebook account clicks in such a way that users think they are liking one thing, but the malware is redirecting the click,” McAfee Labs stated in an official blog post. “It acts on their behalf to click another ‘like’ button without their knowledge.”
Similar to like farming scams, cybercrooks can then sell this like-padding service to Facebook Pages who want to inflate their numbers.
Note: Click here to read about the massive click farms that can artificially boost likes too.
This is troubling in this era of fake news since any post, news article or video can then be made to appear to be more popular or accepted than it actually is. Ultimately, this can be used to spread misinformation and influence opinions within Facebook.
“Faceliker leverages and manipulates the social media and app-based communications we increasingly use today,” McAfee Labs Vice President Vincent Weafer said. “By making apps or news articles appear more popular, accepted, and legitimate among friends, unknown actors can covertly influence the way we perceive value and even truth.”
Now, before we all bring our pitchforks and blame Facebook for this rising malware, McAfee Labs stresses that “Faceliker is not the fault of Facebook. Rather, it is something users bring to Facebook.”