The social network Facebook has alerted about 50,000 users in more than 100 countries that they could be the object of surveillance by “cyber mercenaries” who work for both government agencies and companies.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said in a statement made public today that it alerted all those people that it suspected they were being subjected to these actions through a system that the company launched in 2015.
According to Meta, these companies or individuals that it describes as “cyber mercenaries” officially offer their services against “criminals and terrorists”; however, Meta asserts, “our months-long investigation concluded that the attacks are in fact indiscriminate and include journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes, relatives of opponents and human rights activists,” he emphasizes.
Meta points out that they have deactivated seven surveillance companies that were monitoring people in more than 100 countries, deleted 1,500 accounts, and shared their findings with security researchers, other platforms, and policymakers.
The providers of these services are in China, Israel, Indicia, and North Macedonia, according to Meta, which explains that the monitoring process is divided into three phases, one for recognition, another for contact, and a third for exploitation.
However, Meta warns that “the entities behind these surveillance operations are persistent” and hopes that they will continue to improve their tactics.
“We will continue to share our findings when possible so that people are aware of the threats we are seeing and can take steps to strengthen the security of their accounts,” concludes Facebook, which has been repeatedly criticized for its security flaws.