Home LATEST NEWS HIGH TECH Meta targets businesses using Facebook and Instagram to spy

Meta targets businesses using Facebook and Instagram to spy

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The accounts in question were connected to seven companies offering services ranging from collecting public information online, using fake identities to connect with targets, and digital espionage through hacking.

Meta – formerly Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook group – claims to have alerted some 50,000 people who may have been targeted.

These cyber-mercenaries often claim that their services only target people who commit crimes and terrorists, Meta points out in a report. Their targeting is in fact indiscriminate and includes journalists, critics of authoritarian regimes, families of opposition members, and human rights activists.

Four of the companies involved are based in Israel, a country renowned in the cybersurveillance sector: Cobwebs Technologies, Cognyte, Black Cube and Bluehawk CI.

The other three are BellTroX, based in India, Cytrox, based in North Macedonia, and an unidentified company based in China.

Fake accounts to spy

[Ces entreprises] appear ready to target anyone on behalf of the highest bidder, noted Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security, during a meeting with the media.

They generally present themselves as Internet intelligence services, specializing in the collection and analysis of information retrieved from sites, blogs, discussion forums, media pages, etc.

Cyber-mercenaries sometimes create fake accounts on social networks to collect even more personal elements, even joining the conversations or groups in which these people participate.

Companies also sometimes try to gain the trust of their target before deceiving them by sending them email attachments or trapped links and thus fraudulently gain access to their smartphones or computers.

They can then recover sensitive data such as passwords, phone numbers, photos, videos and messages, as described in the report. They can also activate microphones, cameras and geolocation functions to better spy.

For Democratic parliamentarian and chairman of an intelligence committee in the US Congress, Adam Schiff, this announcement from Meta makes it clear that more needs to be done to stop this mercenary market.

Meta could not determine who ran the company operating from China, but found that some of the servers used for espionage also appeared to be used by law enforcement.

Our investigation found that malicious tools were being used to monitor minority groups across the Asia-Pacific region, including the Xinjiang region of China, Burma and Hong Kong., underlines the report.

One of the companies targeted, Cytrox, was also accused Thursday by a research team from the Citizen Lab, the cybersecurity organization of the University of Toronto, of having developed software used to spy on at least two Egyptians. , a politician in exile, Ayman Nour, and the host of a popular news program, who wished to remain anonymous.

Another company targeted by Meta, Black Cube, denied the accusations to AFP on Thursday, saying it was not carrying out any hacking operations or even operating in the cyber world. Black Cube presents itself as a legal aid firm using legal methods to obtain information on litigation.

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