Facebook sues two Ukrainians over data-pinching browser add-ons

Ukrainian hackers used quizzes to leak over 60K Facebook users' data

Andrew Dwyer, a cyber security expert at the University of Oxford, said the court document suggested users who installed the browser extensions had "effectively opened up entry into their Facebook accounts".

Social network Facebook has filed a lawsuit against two Ukrainians for violation of USA laws on combating hacking, as well as for fraud and violation of the terms of service of the social network. Last week, Facebook filed a lawsuit against four Chinese companies that allegedly sold fake accounts and user engagement.

About 63,000 Facebook users are believed to be have installed the browser extensions.

The alleged Ukrainian operation largely targeted Russian and Ukrainian speakers, Facebook said.

They also claimed that in total, defendants compromised approximately 63,000 browsers, used by Facebook users that caused over $75,000 in damages to the company.

The quizzes, with titles such as "What does your eye colour say about you?" and "Do people love you for your intelligence or your beauty?", gained access to this information via the Facebook Login system - which enables connections between third party apps and Facebook profiles.

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Facebook is also said to be seeking other financial relief for its investigation into the defendants and restitution of any funds that the two received through the scheme. This amount according to the civil complaint was what Facebook spent in removing the malicious plugins from its website past year.

Facebook claims that the two individuals started with activities back in 2016 and continued until October 2018 when their employers, a software company called Web Sun Group, were kicked out of the platform.

As at that time, the company blamed the malicious browser plugins for the sales of private messages.

If you've experienced your Facebook account getting hacked, you know it's a pain.

From the implications of the lawsuit, Facebook may have allowed these hackers into their network by approving them as developers.

News of the lawsuit follows CEO Mark Zuckerberg's blog post last Wednesday announcing that Facebook will pivot toward privacy and unify its messaging apps across Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. According to him, people should have the confidence to live their lives freely and peak privately without fear of being compromised.

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