Facebook trojan triggers spike in malware samples during Q2 2017

Published on: 28 Sep 2017

The number of new malware samples leaped by 67 per cent in between April and the end of June to 52 million, according to McAfee.

This was down in part due to surge in activity from Faceliker - a trojan that infects a user’s browser when they visit malicious or compromised websites and hijacks the user’s Facebook ‘likes’, promoting content without their knowledge or permission.

If the trojan does this enough times, it can earn money for the malicious parties behind Faceliker because the hijacked clicks can make a news article, video, website or ad appear more popular or trusted than it actually is.

Vincent Weafer, vice president for McAfee Labs, said Faceliker was leveraging and manipulating social media.

He commented: “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. As long as there is profit in such efforts, we should expect to see more such schemes in the future.”

Figures from McAfee show that mobile malware has grown by 61 per cent over the past four quarters with global infections of mobile devices up by eight per cent.