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Hackers make dosh on fake “likes”

Social media becoming crucial in fraud

Hackers are starting to make a killing by creating and sell false such as "likes" and "followers" on Instagram, Twitter, Google's YouTube, LinkedIn and other popular websites.

A computer virus widely used to steal credit card data, known as Zeus, has been modified to create bogus Instagram "likes" that can be used to generate buzz for a company or individual. According to cyber experts at RSA, the security division of EMC the fake "likes" are sold in batches of 1,000 on Internet hacker forums, where cyber criminals also flog credit card numbers and other information stolen from PCs.

RSA said that 1,000 Instagram "followers" can be bought for $15 and 1,000 Instagram "likes" go for $30, whereas 1,000 credit card numbers cost as little as $6. The reason is that online marketing experts say some people are willing to spend heavily to make a splash on the Internet, seeking buzz for its own sake or for a business purpose, such as making a new product seem popular.

Facebook, which has nearly 1.2 billion users, said it is in the process of beefing up security on Instagram, which it bought last year for $1 billion.

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