Meta banned seven surveillance firms due to espionage

Meta banned seven surveillance firms due to espionage
In a surveillance report, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, stated that it has banned seven surveillance companies from using its services. Meta describes them as cyber mercenaries who provide surveillance-for-hire services.

Meta banned Cobwebs Technologies, Cognyte, Black Cube, Bluehawk CI, BellTroX, Cytrox, and an unknown firm in China. These seven surveillance firms have been selling software and services that have been used to spy on journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes, families of opposition members, and human rights activists in over 100 countries.

The firms, which Meta banned, claimed that their software and services were designed to aid in the detection of criminals and terrorists, but after a long-running investigation, Meta found out that the products were also being used to spy on people who were not members of these groups.

Some of the methods used by the banned surveillance firms were social engineering tactics, which involved creating fictional personas to reach out to people via email, phone calls, messages, and even messages on social media. The cyber mercenaries used phishing tactics by creating false domains to trick targets into giving away their personal information.

According to Meta's surveillance report about the seven firms, these seven companies breached several community standards and terms of service, and as a result of their seriousness, Meta has chosen to ban them from using its services.

As part of the actions against the banned firms, Meta removed around 1,500 accounts linked to the seven firms from its Facebook and Instagram social media and issued cease-and-desist warnings. Meta sent a warning message to up to 50,000 users, who may have been targeted.

In its message to the 50,000 users, Meta says that the user's account might be a target of a sophisticated attacker. Meta advises its users not to chat with or accept friend requests from unknown people. Meta also recommends that its users review their security settings to ensure that their account is safe.

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In its report, Meta doesn't say who used the services of these seven banned companies. The report only says that a wide range of customers have used the spy services provided by the seven companies and that private individuals, businesses, and law firms from all around the world were among the customers.


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