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Meta calls out private surveillance companies for attempting to hack around 50,000 accounts

Meta has accused several surveillance companies of hacking and other data abuses. (Image source: Pexels via Pixabay)
Meta has accused several surveillance companies of hacking and other data abuses. (Image source: Pexels via Pixabay)
A report released by Meta reveals that several spy firms have targeted approximately 50,000 Facebook users to gain personal information, potentially for use in later phishing attacks. A total of seven surveillance companies were named in the report, including Black Cube.

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.

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Polly Allcock
Polly Allcock - Tech Writer - 315 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2021
I've been interested in technology for as long as I can remember. From a young age, I have loved gadgets and understanding how things work. Since graduating, I have worked for several technology companies across FinTech, AdTech and Robotics.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 12 > Meta calls out private surveillance companies for attempting to hack around 50,000 accounts
Polly Allcock, 2021-12-19 (Update: 2021-12-19)