Facebook says Pak hackers targeted Afghan users amid Taliban takeover | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack | #education | #technology | #infosec



Hackers from Pakistan used Facebook to target people in Afghanistan with connections to the previous government during the Taliban’s takeover of the country, the company’s threat investigators said in an interview with Reuters.

Facebook said the group, known in the security industry as SideCopy, shared links to websites hosting malware which could surveil people’s devices. Targets included people connected to the government, military and law enforcement in Kabul, it said. Facebook said it removed SideCopy from its platform in August.

The social media company, which recently changed its name to Meta, said the group created fictitious personas of young women as “romantic lures” to build trust and trick targets into clicking phishing links or downloading malicious chat apps. It also compromised legitimate websites to manipulate people into giving up their Facebook credentials.

READ: Facebook suspends Pakistan-linked fake news outlets targeting India

“It’s always difficult for us to speculate as to the end goal of the threat actor,” Facebook’s head of cyber espionage investigations, Mike Dvilyanski, said. “We don’t know exactly who was compromised or what the end result of that was.”

Major online platforms and email providers including Facebook, Twitter Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn have said they took steps to lock down Afghan users’ accounts during the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country this past summer.

Facebook said it had not previously disclosed the hacking campaign, which it said ramped up between April and August, due to safety concerns about its employees in the country and the need for more work to investigate the network. It said it shared information with the US State Department at the time it took down the operation.

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