Meta Inc on Monday said it has filed a federal lawsuit in California court against cybercriminals running phishing scams designed to deceive people into sharing their login credentials on fake login pages for Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Phishing attacks lure victims to a link that appears to be operated by a trusted entity, the website, however, is malicious and the site’s fake content is designed to persuade a victim to enter sensitive information, like a password or email address.
According to Meta, the phishing scheme involved the creation of more than 39,000 websites impersonating the login pages of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. On these websites, people were prompted to enter their usernames and passwords, which the hackers collected.
The social technology giant in a blog post notes that cybercriminals used a relay service to redirect internet traffic to phishing websites in a way that obscured their attack infrastructure. This enabled them to conceal their true location, identities, and even the name of their online web hosting providers.
Starting in March 2021, when the volume of these attacks increased, Meta said it suspended thousands of URLs to phishing websites. “This lawsuit is one more step in our ongoing efforts to protect people’s safety and privacy, send a clear message to those trying to abuse our platform, and increase accountability of those who abuse technology,” Jessica Romero, Meta’s director of platform enforcement and litigation, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit comes days after the social technology company announced its platforms had been used by seven surveillance-for-hire companies based out of China, Israel, India, and North Macedonia to spy on or track as many as 50,000 people in 100 countries.
Last month, Meta said it had banned four malicious cyber groups for targeting journalists, humanitarian organisations, and anti-regime military forces in Afghanistan and Syria.