Facebook Sues Malware Trap Installer in Ads

Facebook illustration

Facebook filed a lawsuit against the company iLikeAd Media International Company Ltd. based in China and two residents of the Bamboo Curtain country. Facebook accused that the parties had misused networks on social media to spread malware, aka dangerous programs.

Facebook illustration

This destructive program, according to Facebok, was installed by iLikeAd International Media Company Ltd., a Hong Kong company founded in 2016. Two individual defendants, Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao, are managers of iLikeAd.

ILikeAd is accused of using Facebook ads to lure victims to download and install malware. Facebook says ILikeAd sometimes uses traps in the form of celebrity images in their advertisements to lure people to click, a practice that the company calls “celeb bait.”

After installing via click, the malware will hijack the victim’s Facebook account to spread new advertisements, on behalf of the infected user. In addition, ILikeAd also uses a technique called “cloaking”, which hides the actual destination URL from an ad. This URL redirect ( re-direct ) victim to other sites laden malicious content.

“The cloaking scheme is often sophisticated and well-organized, so the individuals and organizations behind it are difficult to identify for accountability.” said the Facebook legal team. Based on information compiled from ZDNet, Sunday (12/08/2019), Facebook has returned the hijacked victim’s account while securing its access.

This is the second lawsuit Facebook filed against malicious advertisers in 2019. Previously, in August, Facebook sued LionMobi and JediMobi, two Android application developers who are also based in China. At that time they were accused of implementing a “click injection” fraud scheme to reap advertising revenue through fake clicks.

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