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Facebook Removes More Fake and Malicious Accounts that Originated in Russia

The Facebook investigation connected these campaigns to entities associated with Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was previously indicted

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Facebook, Fake, Malicious
They originated in Russia and targeted Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya. Pixabay

Ahead of announcing its third quarter results, Facebook on Wednesday said it has removed more fake and malicious accounted originated in Russia.

The social media platform removed three networks of accounts, Pages and Groups for engaging in foreign interference – which is coordinated inauthentic behaviour on behalf of a foreign actor – on Facebook and Instagram.

“They originated in Russia and targeted Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said in a statement.

The Facebook investigation connected these campaigns to entities associated with Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was previously indicted by the US Justice Department.

Facebook, Fake, Malicious
The social media platform removed three networks of accounts, Pages and Groups for engaging in foreign interference – which is coordinated inauthentic behaviour on behalf of a foreign actor – on Facebook. Pixabay

“In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action,” Gleicher added.

In total, Facebook removed 66 Facebook accounts, 83 Pages, 11 Groups and 12 Instagram accounts that originated in Russia.

On October 21, Facebook said it removed multiple fake accounts that originated in Iran and Russia and targeted the US, North Africa and Latin America before elections.

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The company said it identified these manipulation campaigns as part of its internal investigations into suspected Iran-linked inauthentic behaviour, as well as ongoing proactive work ahead of the US elections. (IANS)

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Social Networking Giant Facebook Blames Apple iOS for Bezos’ Phone Hacking

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook has blamed Apple’s operating system for the hacking of Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone, saying WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is unhackable.

Investigators believe that Bezos’s iPhone was compromised after he received a 4.4MB video file containing malware via WhatsApp – in the same way when phones of 1,400 select journalists and human rights activists were broken into by Pegasus software from Israel-based NSO Group last year.

In an interview to the BBC last week, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, said it wasn’t WhatsApp’s fault because end-to-end encryption is unhackable and blamed Apple’s operating system for Bezos’ episode.

“It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself. It can’t have been anything on the, when the message was sent, in transit, because that’s end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp,” Clegg told the show host.

Clegg compared the hack to opening a malicious email, saying that “it only comes to life when you open it”.

According to a report from FTI Consulting, a firm that has investigated Bezos’ phone, after that the video file was received, Bezos’ phone started sending unusually large amounts of outbound data, including his intimate messages with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia commons)

According to Clegg, “something” must have affected the phone’s operating system.

“As sure as you can be that the technology of end-to-end encryption cannot, other than unless you have handset, or you have the message at either end, cannot be hacked into,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple was yet to comment on Facebook’s statement.

The NSO Group has denied it was part of Bezos’ hacking.

Also Read: Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages. But the piece of NSO Group software exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via missed calls to snoop on the selected users.

According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, end-to-end encrypted apps (E2EE) do provide security, and messages or calls cannot be intercepted and decrypted en route without enormous computing resources.

“But once anyone can get to your handset, whether a human or a piece of software, the encryption doesn’t matter anymore. Because on your handset, it’s all decrypted,” Roy told IANS recently. (IANS)