Facebook is now suing two people from China, as well as a Hong Kong-based company for tricking other platform users into installing malware.
According to an announcement, Facebook has discovered that a Hong Kong-based company and two Chinese nationals were involved in the distribution of malware on the social media giant’s platform. The company — an advertising agency known as ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd — and the two individuals were allegedly involved in tricking people into installing advertising malware.
@facebook sues HK-based ILikeAd Media for hacking accounts, spreading ads · https://t.co/ppPUVyN1k3 The Hong Kong-based company used images of celebrities to entice internet users to click on their ads. #hacking #malware #Facebook #ads
— TechNode (@technodechina) December 9, 2019
The reports claim that they compromised hundreds of thousands of accounts in order to run ads for various counterfeit goods.
Developing and Distributing Malware
The two Chinese nationals that the company is suing are Huang Tao and Chen Xiaocong. The two have allegedly developed the malware and then helped with its distribution.
Facebook stated that ILikeAd used celebrity images in order to attract clicks, which is a popular practice known as celeb bait. Further, the defendants also supposedly used ‘cloaking,’ which is a practice that disguises the destination link. This was necessary so that Facebook’s review protocols would not discover the danger before the ad gets exposed to the platform’s users.
The social media giant also revealed that this campaign lasted for years, likely starting as far back as in early 2016. It was then discovered in August of this year.
Malware and Ad Scams on the Rise at Facebook
This is also not the first company from Hong Kong to try something like this. In fact, back in August, Facebook also filed a lawsuit against an app developer known as LionMobi. LionMobi also used malware to trick users and conduct the so-called click injection fraud. Simply put, the company was making a profit from fake clicks.
Another similar complaint was filed against a company from Singapore, JediMobi. Of course, all companies were banned from the social media platform’s Audience Network. Even so, the incidents are emerging one after another at a time when Facebook is still trying to recover from numerous previous incidents, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
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