Hundreds of Instagram users have already been duped into giving up their account details to fraudsters in exchange for a larger social media following.
Users have began seeking for ways to enhance their follower counts and, as a result, their popularity, as the Meta-owned network has grown in popularity. According to a new McAfee blog article (opens in new tab), Instagram’s massive user base has not gone ignored by hackers, who have developed a new Android malware disguised as an app that can boost a user’s followers and likes.
With a fast online search, you can find a variety of comparable programs. These apps must all be sideloaded because they aren’t available on the Google Play Store or other legitimate app stores, and they violate Instagram’s terms of service. This also implies that they haven’t been thoroughly verified and may contain malware, trojans, or other viruses.
The software analyzed by McAfee’s Mobile Research Team is named InstaFollower, and it claims to provide “cheap instagram likes and followers” via 4,500 daily follower and 4,000 daily like credits. The researchers discovered that the software quickly displays a malicious webpage after displaying an advertisement. InstaFollower seeks to get around Android antivirus software by running harmful code on the website’s backend rather than within the app itself.
Transactions are carried out utilizing Instagram’s own API system with your username and password, according to the malicious website. InstaFollower then argues that it is secure because it uses Instagram’s official server rather than its own remote server to access user credentials. However, minutes after downloading and using the app, McAfee’s researchers got unusual login attempts from Turkey, which came from a smartphone in the nation.
InstaFollow is able to deliver on its promise of free followers and likes by using the credentials of individuals who have downloaded the app to raise the social media following of others. Everyone who uses the app has a relationship with one another, and the malware designer uses all of the credentials gathered from it in his database.
Telegram and YouTube are being used to spread the word.
According to McAfee, InstaFollower and the malware it carries are now being marketed on Telegram and YouTube.
Several Telegram channels are pushing YouTube videos that explain how to use InstaFollower and similar programs to boost your followers and likes, but the videos contain actual links to the virus in question.
During their study, McAfee’s analysts discovered a video promoting the malicious program from a well-known YouTuber with over 190,000 subscribers. Several individuals reported in the video’s comments area that their Instagram account credentials had been stolen, and that their secondary account passwords had also been altered.
This scam appears to be most prevalent among English, Portuguese, and Hindi speakers. While Hindi was the most popular language, with over 100 views per video, the famous YouTuber’s video has already received over 2,400 views. McAfee’s test account garnered 400 followers in one day during its study, indicating that at least 400 users have already transmitted their Instagram credentials to the virus creator.
How to expand your Instagram following naturally
Installing any third-party Instagram app puts your account at danger of being banned or, worse, having your credentials stolen. This is why, rather than relying on applications or services to increase your follower count and likes, you should attempt to naturally develop your following on the platform.
First and foremost, according to a blog post (opens in new tab) from Sprout Social, you should work on optimizing your Instagram account. This means thoroughly filling out your bio and, if applicable, including a link to your website, captioning your photographs, and utilizing a correct username and profile picture.
You can also plan Instagram posts in advance to ensure that you don’t miss any of the most popular posting periods throughout the day. Similarly, promoting your Instagram account on other social media platforms will help you gain more followers and likes. Sprout Social recommends combining eye-catching graphics with descriptions that might help create a conversation on the platform when creating memorable posts.
Finally, there’s a big difference between an account with false followers and one with real ones. As a result, it’s important looking over your account and removing any phony followers to give your Instagram more validity.