Experts in online marketing have emphasised the fact that people are willing to spend a lot of money to have increased internet presence, in order to overstate the value of their products.
The Zeus virus which is normally used to steal credit card data is the first piece of malicious software found to date.
Social media hackers are using this scheme to make products appear more popular.
It is used to create false ‘likes' and followers that seem to come from users social media sites.
The improved Zeus virus controls an infected computer from a central server, which powers the computer to post ‘likes' for particular users.
According to Don Jackson, a senior security researcher with Dell Secure Works:
“Hundreds of millions of PCs have been infected with Zeus since the virus surfaced just over five years ago.”
According to cyber experts at RSA, the security division of EMC Corp:
“Hackers are using their skills to create false endorsements.
As social media becomes increasingly more important in shaping the reputations of people and businesses, Fake ‘likes' are sold in batches of 1,000 on internet hacker forums.
One thousand fake Instagram followers will cost just 15 US Dollars, while 1,000 ‘likes' will go for 30 US Dollars. In comparison, 1,000 credit card numbers from a stolen PC cost as little as 6 US Dollars.”
Michael Kirkland, a spokesman for Facebook said:
“We work hard to limit spam on our service and prohibit the creation of accounts through unauthorized or automated means.”
He also encouraged users to be wary of suspicious activities and expose them through Facebook links and apps.
Chris Gear, a research scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, who spent a year working on a team that investigated fake accounts on Twitter also said:
“The accounts are always just a means to an end. The criminals are always looking to profit.”
For more details on social media hackers, visit RT.