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Meta Sues People Behind Facebook and Instagram Phishing

Meta Sues People Behind Facebook and Instagram Phishing

Meta (formerly known as Facebook) has filed a federal lawsuit in California court to disrupt phishing attacks targeting Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp users.

The attackers behind these phishing campaigns used almost 40,000 phishing pages that would impersonate the four platforms’ login pages.

“This phishing scheme involved the creation of more than 39,000 websites impersonating the login pages of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp,” said Jessica Romero, Meta’s Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation.

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“On these websites, people were prompted to enter their usernames and passwords, which Defendants collected.”

The defendants used a relay service to prevent defenders from detecting and blocking their infrastructure by redirecting internet traffic to the phishing sites, thus concealing both the identities of their online hosting providers and the phishing sites’ locations.

Once the attacks picked up in March 2021, Facebook worked with the relay service used by the phishing operation to suspend thousands of the landing pages used in the attacks.

We proactively block and report instances of abuse to the hosting and security community, domain name registrars, privacy/proxy services, and others. And Meta blocks and shares phishing URLs so other platforms can also block them. — Jessica Romero

Legal action against abusers

This is part of a long series of lawsuits filed by Facebook against threat actors attacking its users and those abusing the platform for malicious purposes.

For instance, in March 2020, Facebook sued domain name registrar Namecheap and its Whoisguard proxy service “for registering domain names that aim to deceive people by pretending to be affiliated with Facebook apps,” frequently being used “for phishing, fraud and scams.”

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In October 2019, Facebook filed a lawsuit against domain name registrar OnlineNIC and its ID Shield privacy service for allowing the registration of lookalike domains used in malicious campaigns.

The same month, Facebook also sued Israeli cyber-surveillance firm NSO Group for developing and selling a WhatsApp zero-day exploit used by nation-state attackers to compromise the devices of high-profile targets, including government officials, diplomats, and journalists.

Last week, Facebook also announced that it disrupted the operations of seven spyware-making companies, blocking their infrastructure, sending cease and desist letters, and banning their accounts from its platform.



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