Source; TechCrunch

Meta banned seven “surveillance for hire” companies targeting users


Meta has recently announced to have banned over seven “surveillance for hire” companies over malicious activities that were allegedly targeting Facebook users. According to sources, over 50,000 users around the globe have been targeted by these companies and approximately 1,000 accounts that were associated with these seven companies have also been banned by Meta.

Malicious activities, spyware and ransomware have started to be taken very seriously across the globe because of the potential harm it can cause to the targeted people. From the government’s perspective, it is the question of national security and they too have been continuously engaged in building up their technical strength to combat such situations. However, Meta could be held liable if anything grave must have happened. Thousands of accounts targeting over 50,000 users worldwide could cause any type of damage and thus, considering the seriousness of the situation and as it obviously goes against Facebook’s policies, the company has banned these accounts for good.

As per Meta, the technology company is always on the lookout for such malicious activities and accounts. As noted by Engadget, the seven targeted companies are Cognyte, Bluehawk CI, Cobwebs, Cytrox, Black Cube and BelltroX.

The report further notes that a Facebook security researcher has found an unknown entity in China that is developing facial recognition technology and surveillance technology, which may or may not be involved in this malicious activity.

Surveillance technology and cyber-surveillance were developed with the intention to identify and track criminals and terrorists on the internet but malicious activities prevail. Anyhow, researchers have shown that targeting is indiscriminate and have been including High Profile Individuals, authors, actors, business tycoons, journalists, politicians and many more.

Meta has issued a statement saying that it will notify around 50,000 globally in over 100 countries who it believes might be targeted by these “surveillance for hire” companies. Other than this, Facebook will prompt these users to revisit their privacy settings and enable advanced security features like Two-factor authentication on their accounts.

However, some of these companies are now defending themselves by saying that they do not operate in the cybercriminal world and they have a complete legal understanding of different cyber laws in different geographies where they are potentially active.

What do you think about “surveillance of hire”, is this service too readily available? Is “hack for hire” an option for everybody? Well, it sure is for the domestic government but who is to blame? Tell us what you think?