1,000 ‘likes’ on Instagram cost $30.
A Trojan horse virus dubbed Zeus is being used by hackers to create ‘like’ company or individual’s social network updates in order to generate hype.
Cyber experts at RSA, the security division of EMC, revealed that the bogus likes are being sold in batches of a thousand on internet hacker forums.
Instagram followers numbering around 1,000 can be bought for $15, while 1,000 likes on the same site were priced at $30.
On the other hand, 1,000 credit card numbers reportedly cost as little as $6.
WordStream senior data analyst Victor Pan told Reuters: "People perceive importance on what is trending. It is the bandwagon effect."
Facebook is all set to fortify its security on Instagram, which it acquired for $1bn in 2012.
Facebook communications manager Michael Kirkland said they will have the same security features on Instagram as on Facebook.
Kirkland encouraged users to report suspicious activity through links on Facebook sites and apps.
"We work hard to limit spam on our service and prohibit the creation of accounts through unauthorised or automated means," he added.
University of California at Berkeley research scientist Chris Grier said: "The accounts are always just a means to an end. The criminals are always looking to profit."