As You LIKE It


“Why, then, can one desire too much of a good thing?”, says Rosalind. Humbly bowing before her literary father, Mr. Shakespeare, we might ask the same thing. Why would anyone wish to collect piles of LIKES? Let’s try to find out.

What is likejacking? The process whereby posted content is LIKED without the user’s consent or knowledge. Simply put, after clicking a link (to view the content behind it) you find that a message is automatically posted on your Wall, in your name, saying that you LIKED that link.

Why is that such a bad thing?First off, it’s a fake endorsement. You are impersonated and the message that appears on your Wall will get your friends into the loop and ensure the viral effect of the scheme. Once they’ve clicked the link and an automatic message has appeared on their walls as well, the respective friends will inadvertently vouch for the safety of that link and for the attractiveness of the content behind it before their own circle of friends. A true water ripple effect.

Just think about it: isn’t this the very principle of information sharing within a social network….that you invite (directly or indirectly, through likes) your friends to read, listen to or view content that you yourself enjoyed?

Second, once they’ve illicitly secured your LIKE, the creators of the page on which the content is placed can replace it with malicious elements. Consequently, the link that remains on your wall for everyone to see, can later on lead to all sorts of content that can put your account and your computer in danger:  phishing pages or, even worse, malware disguised as various useful plugins (video codec, flash players, etc.). This is how likejackers make sure that they’ve got a way to reach you (and your friends) and spread their malicious creations.

How can you identify a likejacking attempt? Two simple things: the bait (the message that attracts curiosity) and where it takes you (the address where the video content is stored).

When it comes to the bait, what could work better than the suggestion that there’s scandal to be witnessed or shock to be had (adult content, irreverent behavior in teenage girls, acts of cruelty, etc.)….and all this in video format. Video link sharing? In this case it’s the virtual equivalent of good old word-of-mouth.


How about the location? Likejackers will not use major video and audio broadcasting channels, but obscure sites, which give you absolutely no guarantee as to their content’s safety.

Why is this old trick coming back strong right now?Until recently, indications of a person’s having LIKED a specific content were quite discreet (i.e. a not so visible line under Recent Activity). The social network has changed this feature and added a thumbnail next to the link proper. This gives you a preview of the liked page, while also making the respective post more salient and attractive.



.What to do to get rid of it? It’s a matter of attention, in more than one direction. Before clicking any link, just take a moment to think whether you’re really interested in the promised video content. After all, this is not the first ever scam to be banking on viewer’s curiosity and craving for excitement.

After you’ve seen the suspicious video, check your Wall to see whether you can identify any post that’s got the elements described so far: a LIKE you don’t remember expressing plus the link to that same video.

If you see such a post, hover over the top right corner of the post box so that the platform provided x button appears. Click the x, then the Remove Post and Unlike link option.

In this way, both your account and your friends’ will be safe and sound.

This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of George Petre, BitDefender Threat Intelligence Team Leader

All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.

About the author

Ioana Jelea

Ioana Jelea has a disturbing (according to friendly reports) penchant for the dirty tricks of online socialization and for the pathologically mesmerizing news trivia. From gory, though sometimes fake, death reports to nip slips and other such blush-inducing accidents, her repertoire is an ever-expanding manifesto against any Victorian-like frame of thought that puts a strain on online creativity. She would like to keep things simple, but she never does.