Facebook says it has taken action against hackers in China, who are using fake accounts to spy on Uighur Muslims. The company said the sophisticated network had targeted activists, journalists, and dissidents from China’s Xinjiang region.
The hacker groups – named as “Earth Empusa”, “PosionCarp”, or “Evil Eye” – also focused on individuals living abroad in the United States, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Syria, and other countries, Facebook said.
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The social network said the group attempted to gain access to the computers and phones by creating fake Facebook accounts, as well as fake websites and apps intended to appeal to a Uighur audience, such as dictionaries or prayer apps.
If someone clicked on the websites, their device would be infected with spying software, which could obtain information such as the victim’s location and contacts, according to FireEye, a cybersecurity firm that worked on the investigation.
Facebook’s investigation found links between the hackers and two technology firms based in China, but the company did not specify a connection to the Chinese government.
Facebook said it had removed the group’s accounts on the platform, which numbered less than 100, and had blocked the sharing of the malicious domains.