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Social media users and healthcare industry revealed as largest cyber targets

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/alexskopje)

Mobile malware and data breaches in the healthcare industry are seeing major rises, new security research has revealed.

McAfee's  September Quarterly Threats Report has shown that malware samples grew by 67 per cent during the second quarter, most likely in part due to increased use of the Faceliker Trojan. 

The malware is particularly effective because it infects users' browsers when they visit malicious or compromised websites and then hijacks their Facebook accounts to 'like' content without their knowledge.  While at first glance it seems that Faceliker is not particularly harmful, the malware is utilised by content creators to falsely push their content which has led to the plethora of “fake news” now found online. 

McAfee's research found that 70 per cent of Brits do not fact check the information they share online which could help put a stop to this trend.    

Vice president of McAfee Labs Vincent Weafer further explained how Faceliker is being used to influence public opinion on a global scale, saying: 

“Faceliker leverages and manipulates the social media and app based communications we increasingly use today. By making apps or news articles appear more popular, accepted and legitimate among friends, unknown actors can covertly influence the way we perceive value and even truth. As long as there is profit in such efforts, we should expect to see more such schemes in the future.”   

McAfee's report also revealed that security incidents in the healthcare industry surpassed those in the public sector during the second quarter of this year.  26 per cent of the security incidents that occurred in 2017 took place in healthcare though most of which were likely due to accidental disclosures and human error.  However, cyberattacks in the sector have continued to increase since 2016 when a number of hospitals around the world were affected by ransomware attacks. 

Image Credit: Alexskopje / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.