HomeTechnologyThe price of success: Influencers are targets of cybercriminals

The price of success: Influencers are targets of cybercriminals

They are also exposed to various risks, including: theft, deception and scams.

Despite reaping exorbitant amounts of money and gaining the loyalty of millions of followers, influencers are also exposed to various risks, including: theft, deception and scams.

The company líder In proactive threat detection, ESET warns that it analyzes the most frequent tactics used by cyber attackers to access money and how content creators can be better protected.

According to the company's information, the global influencer marketing market, which in 2022 was valued at $33.200 billion, will continue to grow exponentially. In fact, it is expected that by the year 2032 it will reach almost 200 billion dollars.

In turn, according to the HubSpot site, In this profession there are several categories determined by the number of followers, as well as other factors that help to conclude how much money each person earns. “A nano influencer earns between 10 and 100 USD, a micro between 100 and 500 USD, and a macro between 5000 and 10.000 USD per post.” These figures served as bait for cybercriminals to begin looking for (and implementing) strategies to obtain financial gain.

Some take the bait

According to ESET, social media celebrities fall into the trap through social engineering. “This is one of the favorite tools of cyber attackers to violate influencers, who often do not have the resources or knowledge with which companies usually protect themselves,” the company highlights in a press release.

Likewise, below we introduce you to some, who unfortunately took the bait.

“The fake podcast”

Hannah Shaw is popularly known on social media as the “Kitten Lady”: her pseudonym is due to the fact that in her videos she teaches people about proper care for newborn cats. Thanks to her followers (more than one million), she raised important amounts to help rescue these animals and shelters. Seeing in Shaw's popularity an opportunity to obtain financial gain and thanks to a social engineering technique, cybercriminals They managed to take over your Meta trading account.

They achieved this by pretending to be conductors of an audiovisual space of this type. In advance and to coordinate the details of the interview, the malicious actors invited the victim to a Zoom call. There, they asked Shaw for access to the Facebook Live settings with the excuse of generating income and she agreed, thinking that she was a normal part of the process. At that time, the cyber attackers took control of the account as Administrator, leaving the page clean to replace them with fake links that actually directed to sites to generate quick and easy income with advertising.


This is a subgroup of content creators dedicated especially to the finance industry. In their accounts, they provide economic advice, advice and tips to their large number of followers so that they can get rich quickly, invest in stocks or cryptocurrency and implement financial planning. In this case, cybercriminals (and also using social engineering to achieve their goal), offered a false job opportunity so that finfluencers become ambassadors of a brand and promote its products.

The truth is that the final objective of the attackers was to obtain the personal and financial information of their victims. With the excuse of needing this data to make payment for the supposed work, what they did once they obtained that information was to empty their bank accounts until they took control of their social networks.

More threats

Malware always present: Others were attacked with malware, either by downloading a malicious file or clicking on an apocryphal link. Thus, cyber attackers can very easily take control of accounts and manage them. They achieve this by publishing content that has nothing to do with what the influencer normally shares, deleting all the content that was available, and even changing the logo and name of the accounts. It is also common for malicious actors to ask for exorbitant sums of money so that the victim can regain control of their social networks.

Identity theft with suspension included: Another of the techniques that has recently become known specifically on Instagram is that cyberattackers They duplicate the influencer's original account and ask for its suspension. To do this, they either acquire a verified account, change the user's biography and image, and then file a report alleging that the victim is actually impersonating them. Another option is to carry out a “spam attack” against the account, reporting it, either for showing nudity images or violating copyright. Once the attacker manages to have the account suspended, he contacts the victim to offer to unblock the account as long as he pays a certain amount of money.

Followers, also in the crosshairs: Identity theft is another of the techniques used in the field of social networks, but in this case the victims are the followers. It is normal for influencers to launch giveaways, which generate a high level of interaction. This is where cybercriminals come into play, creating a duplicate account that pretends to be the original, and from there contacts users informing them that they have been winners of a raffle. The goal is to access the personal and financial information of their victims.

useful recommendations

  • Distrust as a first measure, if a job offer or commercial possibility seems too good to be true, probably not.
  • Do not provide personal or financial information without confirming that there is a real and true possibility on the other side. Good research is your best ally, as is contacting the company to confirm the offer.
  • Do not let any person, company or application post on your social networks.
  • Use on all accounts unique, strong, long and secure passwords (with capital letters, special characters and numbers), and change them periodically.
  • Pay attention and analyze carefully and carefully before clicking on any link that arrives unexpectedly.
  • Lastly and always very important, have a safety solution that provides comprehensive protection while consuming fewer resources.

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