back to article Facebook locks out 1,500 fake accounts used by cyber-spy firms to snoop on people, alerts 50k potential targets

Facebook successor Meta on Thursday said it canceled 1,500 social media accounts used by seven surveillance-for-hire firms to conduct online attacks against government critics and members of civil society. These accounts were primarily used to observe targets and lure them into visiting malicious websites, or receiving booby- …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember kids

    YOU are the product in all these cases

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Remember kids

      "I'm the special !!"

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    1500 !

    Only another 1.1 billion to go and then things should be safe again.

    1. Les Matthew

      Re: 1500 !

      I think a game of Whack a Mole would be quite fitting in this case.

      1. Blofeld's Cat
        Mushroom

        Re: 1500 !

        I would prefer a game of "Nuke the Mole from orbit", but it would indeed be a good start.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook doesn't like

    Competition.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facebook doesn't like

      .. or people who don't pay them for the *cough* "services" *cough* it provides.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well done on the naming and shaming

    We need to keep these names in mind as well :

    Cobweb Technologies

    Cognyte

    Black Cube

    Bluehawk CI

    BellTroX

    Cytrox

    And we also need to be aware that there are more than that. NSO was just the tip of the iceberg. Even if it is shutting down, the people behind it are not going away to become burger-flippers. They will be back under another name.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Well done on the naming and shaming

      I'm pleasantly surprised they actually named them. As I was reading, I was absolutely certain it was going to remain "seven surveillance-for-hire firms" and that's it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well done on the naming and shaming

      well, I'd rather see the list of their clients? Or is it just pointless, as the list is, more or less, the perfect match for the G7, etc? Yeah, well, ok, all other non-democratic democracies as well...

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Well done on the naming and shaming

        Or, perhaps, they're not known because these things are basically illegal (even though they don't get prosecuted) so we don't have access to the full list. But don't let that get in the way as you make up unsubstantiated claims of who is using these services.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well done on the naming and shaming

          I'm happy to make unsubstantiated claim that it's used by ALL major democracies, i.e. UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, etc. Plus, no doubt, many other, who can afford it, our Middle East 'friends', plus Russia and their Central Asia friends.

          Or should I expect the UK gov they're going to self-investigate and announce the result in public? That's what a 'democratic' government would do, eh?

  5. johnB

    Facebook

    Just. Say. No.

  6. Jess

    Meta adverse to internet mercenaries using its social networks to help governments violate human rights, without payment.

    1. macjules

      Meta announces large-scale job losses citing “internet mercenaries using its social networks to help governments violate human rights”, claiming that this depriving Meta employees of a living.

      FTFY

  7. LordHighFixer

    A PR move

    Designed to make it look like they actually will comply with the government and do something, which as we all know is just a little glad-handing. This is not a change for them at all.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tax year ends soon

    I wonder if this will be listed as a business loss in the 2021 tax return?

  9. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    I'd be happy ...

    ... if law enforcement could infiltrate some of the on-line groups being used to organize grab and dash theft mobs. But then that's not likely to be Facebook. Facebook is for old people. If law enforcement wants to intercept illegal on-line activity (either criminal or terrorist) they are going to have to follow the suspects to their current hangouts.

  10. jollyboyspecial Bronze badge

    I'm assuming that Meta shut these accounts down because they were harvesting personal data themselves rather than paying Meta to collect the data for them?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    their services only target criminals and terrorists

    I wish to (humbly) point out that those 'criminals and terrorists' are, in fact, our 'revolutionaries and freedom-fighters'...

  12. Overflowing Stack

    I hate Christmas

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When will people learn

    if anything is free it is not. Nothing is free. There is always a price

  14. msobkow Silver badge

    One side's "justice warrior" is usually the other side's "terrorist", "rebel", or "criminal."

  15. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Not even a paint fleck

    I recall at one time that the number of fake/duplicate/evil accounts on FB was estimated to be well into the tens of millions. I know of several dead people that still have FB accounts. Active accounts too as friends/family keep them going. Every service has this problem. I get reminders from Linkedin to wish good cheer on departed friends for a work anniversary.

  16. Potemkine! Silver badge

    About Nexa Technologies, the company and four of its executives have been indicted for "complicity in torture" two months ago, for the spying software they sold to Egypt. Those executives were ex-executives of Amesys, which is also indicted for having sold spying software to Gaddafi.

    What a nice bunch of bastards. May all their victims be avenged.

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