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5 days ago by eejay
Russian troll farm hijacked American teen girls’ computers for Likes • Daily Beast
Kevin Poulsen:
<p>The Kremlin-linked Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency took an ominous detour into malware distribution in the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign, targeting teenage girls in the US with a Chrome plug-in that pulled their browsers into a crude botnet, according to an analysis by The Daily Beast and outside security experts.

The app, called FaceMusic, was billed as an embedded music player that would allow users to listen to free tunes while browsing Facebook. The Internet Research Agency purchased Facebook ads promoting the app in May 2016 through one of its fraudulent profiles, “Stop All Invaders,” which normally pushed xenophobic anti-immigration memes in support of the Donald Trump campaign.

Facebook data released by Congress last week shows the FaceMusic ads garnered 24,623 impressions from 107 ads, but only 85 clicks in all. The most successful single ad run, with 28 clicks, used Facebook’s targeting system to go after female users in the United States between 14 and 17 years old. (In total, more than 13,000 machines were likely infected by the FaceMusic malware, according to a Daily Beast analysis.)

Google has since removed the malicious app from the Chrome store, and the public FaceMusic website at fbmusic[.]com is now defunct. But an examination of an archived copy of the code, coupled with an analysis of its web traffic, shows it packed hidden functionality that was active even when the victim wasn’t on Facebook.</p>

Despite passing Google's review before going on the Chrome Web Store, it could connect to a server and silently connect to web addresses it was told to. Considering what Chrome extensions can do, that's unlikely to have attracted attention. But it's a basis for clickfraud and botnets. Time to reconsider Chrome extensions, as it once was for ActiveX on IE6?
google  chrome  russia  bot  facebook 
6 days ago by charlesarthur

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