The virus is a boon to marketers and can be helpful in creating marketing campaigns and promoting products on social media sites. According to RSA, the security division of cloud computing company EMC, a 1,000 Instagram "likes" cost marketers approx $30, while around 1,000 followers will cost about $15. Hackers sell these packages on Internet hacker forums along with credit card information. Interestingly a batch of 1,000 credit card numbers cost just $6. This shows that people are willing to sped a lot of money in creating internet buzz and increase popularity of a product.
Cyber criminals use automated software programs to manipulate ‘likes’ and followers. Hackers use a central server to control the infected computer and forces it to post ‘likes’ for specific users via malicious software. Zeus is the first of its kind virus that has been found by security firms.
According to Don Jackson, a senior security researcher with Dell Secure Works, the Zeus virus has affected hundreds of millions of PCs in just over five years.
Instagram has stated that they have increased the security of their technical systems to block fake accounts. An official added, "We work hard to limit spam on our service, and prohibit the creation of accounts through unauthorized or automated means. We employ robust systems to address accounts compromised through malware and phishing, which helps keep the number of fake accounts low."