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Facebook Hackers in Pakistan Target Afghan Users as Government Fails

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News Tech: Pakistani hackers used Facebook to target people with ties to the previous regime during Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taliban, investigators at the company said in an interview with Reuters. Facebook said the group, known in the security industry as his SideCopy, shared links to sites hosting malware that could monitor people’s devices. Targets reportedly included people associated with Kabul’s government, military and law enforcement agencies. Facebook said he removed SideCopy from the platform in August.

Major online his platforms such as Facebook, Twitter Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google, and Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn, as well as his email providers, were forced to close the accounts of Afghan users during the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan last summer. It says it has taken steps to ban it. Facebook said it had not previously disclosed the hacking campaign, which spiked between April and August, citing security concerns for domestic employees and the need for further investigation into the network.

The group created a fictional persona of a young woman as a “romantic lure” to build trust and trick targets into clicking on phishing links or downloading malicious chat apps. Legitimate websites have also been compromised, tricking people into revealing their Facebook credentials. Mike Dvilyanski, Facebook’s head of cyber espionage research, said: “We don’t know exactly who was compromised or what the consequences were.”

He said he shared information with the U.S. State Department when he suspended operations. Investigators also said Facebook disabled the accounts of two hacker groups linked to the Syrian Air Force’s intelligence services last month. According to Facebook, a group known as the Syrian Electronic Army targets human rights activists, journalists and other opponents of the ruling regime, while other groups are associated with the Free Syrian Army or former members of the opposition.

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