How is Facebook being targeted by hackers?

Facebook has fast become the most popular social media platform over the past few years, and with recent news that it's being targeted more and more by hackers, is your identity under threat?

A recent ESET scan found that there has been another occurrence of an attack through video viewing on the platform(1), and the continued vigilance of users with active profiles is of the utmost importance to cyber safety. With so many people turning to Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends all over the world, find enjoyment through various pages and applications, and even plan parties and other events online, is the future of social media at risk unless steps are taken to protect users?

Are you connected?

Facebook reports that as of March 2016, there were over one billion active daily users of the platform, with a further 1.65 billion active monthly users(2). On top of that, there are 1.51 billion monthly mobile users(2) - and a very large pool for hackers to target around the world.

With so many active profiles, it's really no wonder that there are an increasing number of cyberattacks being reported.

The latest appearance of an attack on Facebook users comes in the form of a plugin that is actually downloading malware onto a user's system(1). A link to a video - often entitled 'My first video' or 'Private video' - redirects anyone who clicks on it to a scam YouTube page where a pop-up prompts the viewer to install a plugin in order to watch the recording(1). It's a fairly simple scheme, and ESET found that the malware is a Trojan that is classified as JS/Kilim.SO or JS/Kilim.RG(1). The ESET Virus Radar first came across the JS/Kilim threat in November of 20143, so the virus has had a lot of time to have variants created of it since then.

Once this threat is installed on the browser by way of a fake 'plugin', the active Facebook profile will become corrupted and flooded with more video links, while also sending further links to all online people on the friends list at that time(1). If these friends also open the link, the same thing happens, and they will have a Trojan on their system as well. This threat was detected by ESET more than 10,000 times around the world(1).

"At this point, the infiltration only targets Chrome users, but there is no guarantee that it will not spread to other browsers in the future," stated ESET Malware Researcher Lukas Stefanko(1).

"It has potential to become more dangerous in the future, spreading other, more powerful malware with new capabilities.(1)"

Have you been affected?

With so many instances of this attack around the world, there's a chance that users in Australia have also been affected without even knowing it.

Users can check whether or not their browsers have been infected by looking through their active extensions - if 'Make a GIF' is present, remove it immediately(1). If you have installed the legitimate 'Make a GIF' extension and are unsure which one is the scam version, click on the details pages and look through the data on the page to check on the state of the developer(1). The real extension page will be full of information, while the fake one is blank(1).

Malware is a serious threat to users' identities in this day and age - especially with so many people using Facebook. Personal details can be used by hackers to infiltrate other profiles and accounts, even ones connected to banking applications.

Identity Watch's team of white-hat hackers can patrol forums searching for your sensitive information, and inform you of any instances so that you can take steps to protect yourself. Get in touch today and keep your digital profiles safe.

1. ESET. ESET Analysed Another Scam Luring Facebook Users into Downloading Malware. Accessed May 2016.

2. Facebook Newsroom. Company Info. Accessed May 2016.

3. ESET Virus Radar. JS/Kilim Threat Detail. Accessed May 2016.