Cybercriminals are using Facebook ads to distribute malware and hijack users’ social media accounts, researchers have discovered.
What’s an info-stealer?
Info-stealers are malware that enable hackers to steal victims’ browser cookies and take over Facebook accounts. Once inside the account, hackers can change passwords and activate additional security measures on accounts to completely deny access to the legitimate owner, allowing cybercriminals to commit fraud.
How does this happen?
This happens when hackers exploit legitimate tools for online ad distribution and insert infected links into typical advertisements. To entice users into clicking, campaigns often offer “provocative enticements”, which in this case, contained lewd images. Each click on the ad instantly downloads the malicious file to the victim’s device. Researchers estimate that nearly 100,000 users downloaded the malware in just 10 days.
What should we do?
Be extra vigilant when using any social media platforms, and make sure to connect only with people you know. Be weary of friend requests and messages from unknown people, especially when they ask you to click on a link or download a file. Before clicking on any ads, go to the company’s website to verify ad claims, such as discounts or special offers.
Let’s all remain vigilant of these and similar scams. Please refrain from answering unsolicited or unexpected communications. Additionally, do not provide personal or financial information or transfer money, especially in cryptocurrency, to unverified entities.
What should I do if I am hacked?
Incidents should be reported on https://www.cyber.nj.gov/report (the NJCCIC Cyber Incident Report Form), and https://www.ic3.gov (the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center), and to the Linden Police Department at 908 474 8502.