Chinese hacker groups use Facebook and other mobile sites and apps to cheat and spy uyghursThe social network said on Wednesday without blaming the Chinese government for these practices.
“We see clear links with companies and the geographical locations of this activity, but we cannot formally prove who is behind this activity.”Nathaniel Gleacher, Facebook’s head of security control, told a news conference. Hackers are targeting hundreds of Uyghur activists, journalists and rebels living abroad. According to the California-based company, they trick their computers or smartphones into clicking on strategic links and websites that are infected with spyware. “This activity has all the features of a long-term activity, has considerable resources, and hides the people in charge well.”Nathaniel Gleacher added in a statement.
According to the cybersecurity team, the hackers’ plots are mainly carried out outside of Facebook, on legitimate but uncompromising news sites, or through fake applications that may be of interest to this persecuted Muslim minority in China (dictionaries, prayers, etc.). This is a “watering hole” technology that affects a place where people suspiciously go. On social networks, hackers are portrayed as journalists, human rights defenders, or community members in order to build trust relationships and entrap them. These tactics allow spies to gain access to information, cameras, and microphones on victims’ phones.
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“The impact will be severe”
The targeted Uyghurs come from Xinjiang, China and live in Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Syria, Turkey, the United States and other countries. “Although it has affected a small number of users, in this case less than 500 in the world, the impact will be severe – you can imagine monitoring taking place.”, Commented Nathaniel Gleacher.
Facebook says it has blocked shared domain names from sharing on its platform, removed group accounts and warned concerned people. The company shared information with other social networks. Hacker groups are known as “Earth Emposa”, “Poison Carp” or “Evil Eye”.
The United States and several European countries have recently stepped up their anti-China rhetoric, accusing millions of Uyghur Muslims of being housed and subjected to “sterilization and forced labor.” Beijing denies these facts.
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