There has just been a purge of horror from some of the most widely used social media platforms on the internet – a welcome turnaround for some 50,000 people who may have been targeted, not to mention the rest of us.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said in announcement On Thursday, he recently fired six private surveillance companiess from its platforms, together with the network of fake profiles are used by an “unknown entity”. Meta says companies have violated community standards and terms of service and that “given the seriousness of their violations” they are now barred from ever using them.platform again. U report published alongside the announcement, Meta officials gave details of how long she had invested in getting rid of the firm.
“We have disabled seven entities that have targeted people online in over 100 countries; share our findings with security researchers, other platforms and policy makers; issued warnings of termination and withdrawal; and warn people we believe are targeted to help them strengthen the security of their accounts, ”Meta said of his efforts to get rid of sniffers.
The spy firms largely used fake profile networks, which they used to interact with certain users, infiltrate various “closed” communities and otherwise track certain people – mostly journalists and activists, the report said.
In total, Meta said, he warned “about 50,000 people we believe have been the target of these malicious activities around the world.” The company sent notifications to customers it believes were affected by the surveillance.
Several companies listed in the report have been implicated in visible privacy scandals. One of the companies, India-based BelltroX, had been caught earlier in charges of Hack-for-hire schemes against journalists, environmental activists, politicians and bankers. Another company, Cytrox, is a spyware maker based in northern Macedonia. On Thursday, researchers at Citizen Lab published a study which describes in detail the company’s commercial malware, called “Predator”, which is allegedly able to infiltrate phones in ways similar to the notorious “Pegasus” spy software of the NSO group.
NBC reports that the other companies on Meta’s shit list – CobWebs Technologies, Bluehawk CI, Cognyte and Black Cube – are located in Israel, which is known as hub for high-tech surveillance services.
Of this crowd, the Black Cube is probably the most notorious. The secret firm, which included former members of the Mossad and other Israeli intelligence elements, was infamously engaged Harvey Weinstein back in 2016 to spy on his victims of sexual abuse, as well as journalists investigating allegations made against the film mogul. According to reports by the New Yorker, these operatives were tasked with helping “gather information … about dozens of individuals and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focused on their personal or sexual history.”
Meta says he also disabled an “unknown entity” based in China – a network of about 100 fake Facebook and Instagram accounts that appeared to have been involved in “reconnaissance and social engineering activities before delivering malicious cargo to their targets.” . The network was probably used by “domestic police in China”, the report claims.
Metin’s creepy purge comes at a time when both private industry and the U.S. government seem to be breaking up the surveillance industry. This is a welcome turnaround as there has been no shortage in recent years evidence that such companies, while claiming to support legitimate law enforcement action, often hire wealthy and politically connected individuals as a means of targeting journalists, human rights activists, and almost anyone else they want to keep an eye on.
“While cyber mercenaries often claim that their services and surveillance software are only for criminals and terrorists, our own investigation, independent researchers, our industry and government colleagues have shown that targeting is truly indiscriminate and includes journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes.” families of opposition and human rights activists. In fact, for platforms like ours, there is no scalable way to determine the purpose or legitimacy of such targeting, ”the report concludes.
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