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Cyber Thugs Running ‘Criminal Flea Market’ on Facebook

Talos said it continues to cooperate with Facebook to identify and take down as many of these groups as possible

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

The US cyber intelligence firm Cisco Talos has discovered 74 Facebook groups – touted as “online criminal flea market” — that were buying and selling stolen credit card information and cybercrime tools.

The groups, with approximately 385,000 members, promised to carry out “an array of questionable cyber dirty deeds, including the selling and trading of stolen bank/credit card information, the theft and sale of account credentials from a variety of sites, and email spamming tools and services”.

The majority of these groups use fairly obvious group names, including ‘Spam Professional’, ‘Spammer & Hacker Professional’, and ‘Facebook hack (Phishing)’.

“Despite the fairly obvious names, some of these groups have managed to remain on Facebook for up to eight years, and in the process acquire tens of thousands of group members,” Cisco Telos said in a blog post on Friday.

A simple search for groups containing keywords such as ‘spam’, ‘carding’, or ‘CVV’ will typically return multiple results.

Cisco Telos alerted Facebook about these groups and the social media giant took down the majority of those.

“However new groups continue to pop up, and some are still active as of the date of publishing (Friday),” wrote Cisco Telos.

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A man types on a computer keyboard in front of displayed cyber code in this illustration picture. VOA

A Facebook spokesperson told CNET that these groups violated its policies against spam and financial fraud and have removed them.

Talos initially attempted to take down these groups individually through Facebook’s abuse reporting functionality.

While some groups were removed immediately, others only had specific posts removed.

Talos said it continues to cooperate with Facebook to identify and take down as many of these groups as possible.

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In April 2018, security reporter Brian Krebs alerted the social media site to dozens of Facebook groups wherein hackers routinely offered a variety of services including carding (the theft of credit card information), wire fraud, tax refund fraud and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

“Operating with impunity, these attackers relentlessly probe cyber-defences of enterprises everywhere.

“This is a high-stakes endeavour because an attacker with even the smallest foothold inside an organisation can do considerable damage,” said Cisco Telos. (IANS)

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Content Moderators on Facebook and YouTube Asked to Sign PTSD Forms

Content moderators at Facebook and YouTube in Europe and in the US have been asked to sign PTSD forms

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Content moderators at Facebook and YouTube in Europe and in the US have been asked to sign forms detailing that the job may cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Pixabay

Content moderators at Facebook and YouTube in Europe and in the US have been asked to sign forms detailing that the job may cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to The Financial Times and The Verge, global professional services firm Accenture which provides content moderators for big tech firms have asked them to sign a form, explicitly acknowledging that their job could cause post-traumatic stress disorder.

Accenture runs at least three content moderation sites for Facebook in Europe, including in Warsaw, Lisbon and Dublin. A similar document was also provided by Accenture to workers at a YouTube content moderation facility in Austin, Texas. Accenture said the wellbeing of workers was a “top priority”.

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Accenture runs at least three content moderation sites for Facebook in Europe, including in Warsaw, Lisbon and Dublin. Pixabay

“We regularly update the information we give our people to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the work they do,” the company said in a statement.

“According to an employee who signed one of these acknowledgment forms, every moderator at the facility was emailed a link and asked to sign immediately,” the report said.

The Accenture form says workers might review “disturbing” videos and that moderating “such content may impact my mental health, and it could even lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Both Facebook and Google said they did not review Accenture’s new form.

The Verge’s probe last month into Accenture’s Austin site described hundreds of low-paid immigrants toiling in, removing videos flagged for extreme violence and terrorist content.

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“The moment they quit Accenture or get fired, they lose access to all mental health services. One former moderator for Google said she was still experiencing symptoms of PTSD two years after leaving,” the report claimed.

Last year, The Verge published a report of Facebook moderators and one of them said he “sleeps with a gun by his side” after doing the job. (IANS)