Fake "Likes" and "Followers" Sold For Cash
Oddly enough, stolen credit card numbers may not be the most coveted new asset. Shockingly, fake fans on Instagram have surpassed the cost of stolen credit card numbers. How much? Five times as much.
As social media has become progressively more prominent in molding digital reputations, hackers have used their skills to create and sell false endorsements. Among these endorsement users can buy “likes” on Facebook or “followers” on Instagram.
The cyber experts at RSA, the security division of EMC corporation, says the computer virus known as Zues - used to steal credit card information, has been modified to create bogus Instagram “likes” that can be used to generate buzz for a company or individual Instagram account.
The “likes” are sold in groups of 1,000 on internet hacker forums, where cyber criminals get credit card numbers and other valuable information. According to RSA, 1,000 Instagram “followers” can be purchased for only $15 and 1,000 “likes’ on Instagram tend to be sold for $30. 1,000 credit card numbers can cost as little at $6.
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Marketing experts are saying that some people are willing to spend heavily to gain more attention on the internet. Businesses want to make their new products or services seem incredibly popular and buzz worthy.
"People perceive importance on what is trending," said Victor Pan, a senior data analyst with WordStream, which advises companies on online marketing. "It is the bandwagon effect."
Facebook has almost 1.2 billion users, and said it is in the process of tightening security on Instagram, which the social media giant purchased last year for $1 billion. Instagram has nearly 130 million users and will have the same security measures that Facebook uses, said spokesman Michael Kirkland.
"We work hard to limit spam on our service and prohibit the creation of accounts through unauthorized or automated means," Kirkland said.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”