Monday, August 8

Almost 50,000 Facebook users have been spied on by private firms

  • The social giant reports that it has blocked up to 1,500 fake accounts that were operating in more than 100 countries.

  • The company has denounced half a dozen private surveillance companies for hacking or other abuses.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram Y Whatsapp, has denounced half a dozen private companies of surveillance what would they have spied almost 50,000 users of its platforms. In a report published Thursday, the giant of social networks has accused these firms of having orchestrated campaigns of hacking and illegal data extraction.

That is why Meta has blocked some 1,500 accounts, the vast majority of them false, that these surveillance firms would have used to track users from more than 100 countries. Among the victims were politicians, journalists, celebrities, ordinary citizens, and also friends and relatives of those targets.

Although the company has not provided specific details on how it has come to detect the activity of these companies, it is common for it to present reports explaining the illicit activity that occurs on its platforms, as well as coordinated campaigns for disinformation Y political manipulation, and how you respond to it.

I surround the NSO, used against pro-independence activists

Among the firms denounced by the social empire that leads the controversial Mark Zuckerberg figure NSO Group, Israeli company behind the famous spy program Pegasus. This tool is used in countries around the world to monitor and persecute rival politicians, dissident activists and critical journalists, as happened with the Saudi reporter Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly executed on the orders of Riyadh. Various international investigations have revealed that this technology It has been used in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Rwanda and also in Spain, where it served to tap the telephones of Catalan independence leaders as the then ‘president’ of the Parliament, Roger Torrent, or the former CUP deputy, Anna Gabriel, among others.

Meta has already sued the NSO Group in US courts, where political pressure is mounting against the Israeli firm after it was revealed that its software had also been used to spy on US diplomats in Uganda. The administration of Joe Biden already included that company in its blacklist after knowing its impact on civil society.

The cyber espionage industry

However, as the head of Meta’s security policy explained to Reuters, Nathaniel like, “The industry of on-demand surveillance is much larger than a single company.” Thus, the parent company of Facebook has also denounced other firms. Among them, the also Israeli Black Cube, famous because its spies worked in favor of the infamous Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood producer charged with up to 11 sex crimes, including rape. The objective of the accounts deployed by Black Cube was to collect data, such as emails, and then launch cyberattacks What ‘phishing‘. The company has denied taking to the kingpin “any type of identity theft or computer hacking.”

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Other companies indicated by Meta are the Israeli Bluehawk CI, the european Cytrox and the Indian cybermercenaries firm BellTroX, all for alleged hacking. Other two, Cognyte, Y Cobwebs Technologies they have been accused of creating fake profiles to trick users into exposing private data.

Although the social network has refused to identify the victims of those attacks, an investigation by the surveillance center in the Citizen Lab network has indicated that one of the targets would have been the Egyptian opponent Ayman Nour, who explained to Reuters that he already suspected that he was being watched. and that he blamed the Egyptian government for it.

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