Links were hidden in comments on the photo-sharing site.

As Instagram marches relentlessly forward to achieving 1 billion users later this year, Russian hackers have found to have been using the comments section of Britney Spears’ Instagram account to communicate and co-ordinate malware attacks.

Research by Security firm Eset found the malware being used  known as Turla, was communicating and spreading itself within the comments sections of posted images of Britney Spears Instagram. To most users the posted comments appear to be nothing more than unwanted spam. Eset found however, that the spam posts could be transformed by code in the Turla malware, and direct victims to other sites containing other malware. One compromised server asked visitors to install a booby-trapped extension for the Firefox web browser. Mozilla, the creators of Firefox are actively working on ways to stop extensions for Firefox being compromised in this way.

Britney Spears: Malware planted in singer's Instagram page

Turla has been active since 2014 according to Eset researcher Jean-Ian Boutin.

Toxic?

Turla first came to tech security firms attention in 2014, and is believed to be run by a hacker group working for the Russian state. It has been used to catch out government workers, diplomats and other officials, according to Eset researcher Jean-Ian Boutin.

The news marks an escalation in hackers are increasingly using social media sites to hide their malicious traffic in open view, making it harder to distinguish what is and isn’t malware, making “life harder for defenders. “Firstly, it is difficult to distinguish malicious traffic to social media from legitimate traffic,” Boutin wrote. “Secondly, it gives the attackers more flexibility when it comes to changing the C&C address as well as erasing all traces of it.”

Why Britney Spears?

I guess that’s just the headline. In actual fact, there are several websites that have had sections of their pages compromised and being used to track victims and spread malware. Britney Spears just happens to be the most high profile celeb found so far.

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