Facebook reveals Chinese hacker spy operation against Uyghurs

The Pirates target hundreds of Uyghur activists, journalists and dissidents living abroad.

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Chinese hacker groups are using Facebook and other sites and mobile applications to trick and spy on Uyghurs, the social network said on Wednesday (March 24), without attributing the practices to the government. “We see clear links with the companies and geographic locations of this activity, but we cannot formally prove who is behind this operation.”, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security regulations, said at a press conference.

Hackers target hundreds of Uyghur activists, journalists and dissidents living abroad. They trick them into clicking on tricky links and websites that infect their computers or smartphones with spyware, according to the California-based company. “This activity has all the hallmarks of a long-term operation, with substantial resources, which hides well the people in charge”Nathaniel Gleicher added in a statement.

According to its cybersecurity team, the maneuvers of hackers mainly take place outside Facebook, on legitimate but compromised news sites or via bogus applications likely to be of interest to this persecuted Muslim minority in China (such as dictionaries or applications). prayer). This is the so-called “watering hole” technique, which involves infecting a place where people go without being suspicious.

“Even if a small number of users are affected, less than 500 in the world in this case, the impact can be severe. You can imagine the surveillance being put in place.”, commented Nathaniel Gleicher. Facebook says it has blocked the sharing of trapped domain names on its platform, removed group accounts and warned the people concerned. The company also shared information with other social networks.

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