Facebook accuses 2 Ukrainians of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

1 Apr

Two Ukrainian quiz makers using malware plugins to steal user data via Facebook and insert advertising into newsfeeds have recently been sued by Facebook!

Gleb Sluchevsky and Andrey Gorbachov, the two accused, have apparently been running their hacking setup for more than just a few years. In fact, between 2017 and 2018, they successfully targeted 63 000 Facebook users by offering them a horoscope or character popularity test in exchange for installing their browser plugins. Of course, these plugins were malicious.

It might seem harmless for a hacker to use such access to insert adverts on your newsfeed, but the risk comes when adverts that aren’t Facebook approved make their way onto your newsfeed. Most users intrinsically believe that an advert that they see on their Facebook feed is trustworthy and that it is approved by Facebook, when in fact, many of the ads are scams.

Just last year, 81 000 private user messages on Facebook were sold and it appears that these same two Ukranian hackers have been linked to the crime.

If you have ever done seemingly harmless Facebook tests similar to the following, you too could have been a victim to malicious plugins:

  • Who is your doppelganger from the past? ( illustrated with a picture of Stalin and Lenin).
  • What is your intellectual age? ( illustrated with an image of Einstein).
  • What animal are you?
  • What is the colour of your aura?
  • Do you have royal blood?
  • Do people love you for your intelligence or your beauty?

Facebook users who completed these tests were promised that only limited data was being collected when in reality, the browser plugins and extensions were used to gain access to their Facebook accounts and other social media platform accounts.

How the hackers got it right

In order for these hackers to use Facebook’s login feature for their elaborate scam, they would have to have been registered, approved developers. It was found after investigations that the hackers had opened developer accounts between 2016 and 2018 under the fake names of Amanda Pitt and Elena Stelmah.

These accounts and any associated fake accounts have since been removed by the Facebook team.

Facebook takes action!

After the Cambridge Analytica saga, Facebook seems to be taking a harder stance against breaches and security irregularities. The company spent a whopping $ 75 000 investigating this particular breach and has brought the following charges and accusations up against Gorbachov and Sluchevsky.

  • Accessing data without express authorisation from Facebook and users
  • Fraud
  • Breach of contract due to misrepresentation as authorised Facebook developers.

Think twice before playing Facebook quiz games

The best way to protect yourself from becoming a victim is to avoid playing online quiz games, especially those that require you to log in via Facebook or another social media platform. Always be cautious about how and with who you share your sensitive data and personal information.

Have you ever played an online quiz game? Now is the time to change your passwords, remove unnecessary browser extensions and plugins and start taking your personal data security more seriously by ensuring that your data is encrypted and backed up to the cloud. Ask us how. Our team of experts will be happy to advise you.

Comments are closed.