On Wednesday, Facebook disrupted hacker activity in China. Hackers were trying to target journalists, activists, and dissidents by infecting their devices with malicious software.
According to Facebook, the hacker group Earth Empusa/Evil Eye targeted Chinese Uyghurs who live in the US, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Syria, and Kazakhstan.
The hackers used the oldest trick in the book to try to bait users into installing malicious applications. They used fake links to try to make users click on them. These links were laced with malicious viruses that would have infected users’ devices if they clicked on them.
Furthermore, these links usually led to malicious programs disguised as prayer and dictionary applications. This was a clever move because the target demographic for these attacks love installing such applications. However, the attacks didn’t stop there.
The hackers created fake Facebook profiles and pretended to be human rights activists, journalists and even students.
Facebook deleted those fake profiles and blocked the malicious links. They also notified people who were affected by the attacks. Despite that, the number of affected people is still unclear. This attack highlights the security issues that plague Facebook advertising regularly.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will testify before Congress this Thursday.
The CEOs are expected to elaborate on their plan to tackle this problem. Most of the attacks happened off Facebook. As a result, determining the exact number of compromised devices is challenging.
According to Facebook, hacker group selectively chose targets. Users’ IP addresses, language, country, and operating system were monitored before choosing them as a viable target. It is believed everything will be brought under control because this isn’t Facebook’s first battle against hackers.