Meta calls out private surveillance companies for attempting to hack around 50,000 accounts
Meta has accused seven firms of targeting 50,000 users with hacks and other abuses. The details of the implicated spy companies were published in a recent report by Meta, stating that users across multiple platforms have been attacked in over 100 countries.
The report asserted that Meta had suspended around 1,500 accounts from their platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. Meta was not the only social media platform to take action against hackers; Twitter also removed approximately 300 accounts shortly after Meta’s statement was released.
The businesses named in Meta’s report include Black Cube, the intelligence firm used by Harvey Weinstein in an attempt to stop the publication of sexual misconduct allegations. Alongside Black Cube, Meta has accused Bluehawk CI, BellTroX, Cytrox and an unknown entity in China of hacking.
Meta also alleges that Cobwebs Technologies and Cognyte have used fake accounts to try to trick users into sharing sensitive information. It is not clear how Meta has identified these surveillance companies.
Examples of the jobs these bad actors carried out include targeting concerning law enforcement activities and targeting opposition politicians, government officials, and activists. Individuals who worked for these surveillance companies posed, for instance, as film and TV producers, NGO and human rights workers and graduate students. These con artists would then attempt to gather personal information about their targets, likely for phishing attacks to be carried out later.
Affected users were alerted by Facebook that their account may have been targeted by attackers, advising them to take the Privacy Checkup to secure their account.