Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Dec 11 (efe-epa).- Facebook on Friday said it blocked the accounts of two hacker groups in Vietnam and Bangladesh who used the social networking site for alleged cyber espionage.
The Vietnamese group of hackers, known as APT32 or OceanLotus, targeted human rights activists, non-governmental organizations, and news agencies, Facebook said in a statement.
The group also targeted foreign governments, including those in Laos and Cambodia.
“We have been tracking and taking action against this group for several years,” Facebook Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher and Cyber Threat Intelligence Manager Mike Dvilyanski said in the statement.
It said its investigation had linked the activity to the Ho Chi Minh-based IT company, CyberOne Group, linked to espionage for the Vietnamese government.
Facebook claims that the Vietnamese hackers used its platform to carry out a variety of cyberattacks, some of them using fake accounts to mislead their targets.
“APT32 created fictitious personas across the internet, posing as activists and business entities, or used romantic lures when contacting people they targeted,” the company said.
“These efforts often involved creating backstops for these fake personas and fake organizations on other internet services so they appear more legitimate and can withstand scrutiny, including by security researchers,” it added.
The Vietnamese group also used the social network and other portals for malware that allowed them to collect information and spy on their targets.
Facebook also uncovered a Bangladeshi hacking group linked to two NGOs – Don’s Team (also known as Defense of Nation) and the Crime Research and Analysis Foundation (CRAF) – that targeted local activists, journalists, and religious minorities, including those living abroad.
Al Kibria, the deputy commissioner of the Bangladeshi counter-terrorism police’s cybercrime investigation unit, told EFE in Dhaka that police did not have specific information but was aware that there were a large number of such active groups.
“Some groups work in camouflage. They approach people offering help to recover their ID and then blackmail them. We worked on this in the past. But directly against Don’s team or CRAF, we did not receive any allegation,” he said. EFE-EPA