Facebook Sues 2 Ukrainian Men Over Alleged Data-Stealing Browser Add-Ons

Facebook Sues 2 Ukrainian Men Over Alleged Data-Stealing Browser Add-Ons

Two Ukrainian hackers known as Gleb Sulchevsky and Andrey Gorbachov are facing trial for injecting advertisements into Facebook News Feed with quizzes.

The complaint says these hackers scraped public profile information and non-publicly viewable lists of friends, in addition to serving their own ads instead of official Facebook-approved ones.

Facebook now sues the hackers, who operated from the Ukrainian capital Kiev, for illegal hacking, fraud and violating the terms of service of the social medium.

The BBC has contacted Web Sun Group for comment.

The bait for the malware was that catnip for simpletons, the personality test. Users were encouraged to log in via Facebook before downloading the malicious browser extension which stole publicly visible information and private friend lists. "In fact, Defendants knew that the applications were created to scrape the app users' public profiles on Facebook and other social networking sites, and to prompt users to install malicious extensions for the objective of manipulating the users' browsers and collect the users' private and non-publicly viewable lists of friends when the app user visited the Facebook site".

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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. This amount according to the civil complaint was what Facebook spent in removing the malicious plugins from its website a year ago. This announcement made by the company came at the same time when a report on the BBC revealed that there had been a breach on people's private messages on the website.

If a user then followed through and installed the malicious browser extension, the extension would gain access to the user's Facebook page.

The hackers were uncovered after they claimed to have access to 120 million Facebook accounts. But the suits give Facebook a chance to defend itself against charges of being lax with privacy and security, explaining how users have been victimized by hackers - not the platform itself.

The scheme seemingly wouldn't have worked, however, if Facebook hadn't approved the hackers as developers who could use its Facebook Login feature. Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a note to work for Facebook users keeping in mind the privacy focus.

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