To gain more followers on social media, cybercriminals have already tricked hundreds of Instagram users into handing over their account information.
Meta-owned platform users have started looking for ways to increase their follower numbers and, in turn, boost their fame as the platform has become increasingly popular. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by cybercriminals who’ve created an Android malware disguised as an app that can boost a user’s number of followers and likes, according to McAfee.
It’s easy to find other apps like this by doing a quick internet search. This type of app is not available on Google Play or any other official app stores because it violates Instagram’s terms of service. Additionally, this means that they have not been vetted, which means they may be infected with malware, trojans, or other viruses.
It’s called InstaFollower, and it promises “free and hassle-free instagram followers and likes” through 4,500 daily followers and 4,000 daily like credits that the McAfee Mobile Research Team examined. It was discovered by the researchers that after an advertisement was shown, the app immediately redirected to a malicious site. Malicious activity on the website’s backend is used instead of the app itself by InstaFollower to get around Android antivirus protections.
The malicious website claims that Instagram’s own API system is used to carry out transactions, and that your username and password are required for this. Since it uses user credentials from Instagram’s official server and not its own remote server, InstaFollower claims to be secure. McAfee’s researchers received abnormal login attempts from a smartphone in Turkey within minutes of installing and using the app.
InstaFollow is able to deliver on its promise of free followers and likes because it uses the credentials of those who have installed the app to boost the social media following of others. Everyone who uses the programme has some sort of connection to one another, and the malware’s creators save all of the user credentials they collect this way.
Spread via Telegram and YouTube
There are a number of Telegram channels marketing YouTube videos that show how to utilise InstaFollower and similar programmes to raise your number of followers and likes, but those videos contain links to the virus in issue.
McAfee’s analysts discovered a video advertising the malicious programme from a well-known YouTuber with over 190,000 subscribers during their examination. Several viewers voiced their concerns in the video’s comments section regarding the theft of their Instagram login credentials and the subsequent modification of their secondary accounts’ passwords.
The fraud appears to be particularly prevalent among English, Portuguese, and Hindi-speaking individuals. As a popular YouTuber’s video already has over 2,400 views, Hindi-language videos have less than 100 views. According to McAfee’s test account, which accumulated 400 followers in a single day during its study, the virus creator has received at least 400 Instagram logins.
How to grow your Instagram audience organically
Your Instagram account may be suspended or worse still, your login credentials may be stolen if you use a third-party Instagram app. In order to avoid this, you should avoid using any kind of tools and services to inflate your follower or like counts, and instead focus on growing your audience organically.
According to Sprout Social, the first thing you should do is optimise your Instagram account. If you have a website you may include a link to it in your bio, as well as descriptions for your photographs. You also need to have a legitimate username and profile picture.
Schedule your Instagram posts in advance so you don’t miss any of the best posting times of the day so you can develop your following. The same is true for showing off your Instagram on your other social media profiles. Sprout Social recommends using catchy graphics with provocative text to help you stand out on the social media site.
Last but not least, the difference between a Twitter account with fictitious followers and one with real ones is enormous. As a result, cleaning up your Instagram account and removing any phoney followers is important if you want to establish your account as legitimate.