Chinese hackers used Facebook to target Uighur activists with malware

Facebook

CHINESE HACKERS USED FAKE Facebook accounts to target individual activists in the expatriate Uighur community and infect their personal communications devices with malware, according to Facebook. The social media company said on Wednesday that the coordinated operation targeted approximately 500 Uighur activists living in the United States, Canada, Australia, Syria, Turkey and Kazakhstan.

At least 12 million Uighurs, most of them Muslims, live in China’s Xinjiang region, which is among the most impoverished in the country. The Chinese state is currently engaged in a campaign to quell separatist tendencies among some Uighurs, while forcibly integrating the region’s population into mainstream culture through a state-run program of forcible assimilation. It is believed that at least a million Uighurs are currently living in detention camps run by the Communist Party of China, ostensibly for “re-education”. Meanwhile, thousands of Uighur expatriates, most of whom live in Kazakhstan and Turkey, are engaged in a concerted campaign aimed at airing human-rights violations occurring in the Chinese detention camps throughout Xinjiang.

According to Facebook, Chinese hackers set up around 100 accounts of fake personas claiming to be journalists with an interest in reporting on human rights, or pro-Uighur activists. They then befriended actual Uighur activists on Facebook and directed them to fake websites that were designed to resemble popular Uighur news agencies and pro-activist websites. However, these websites were carriers of malware, which infected the personal communications devices of those who visited them. Some Facebook users were also directed to fake smartphone application stores, from where they downloaded Uighur-themed applications that contained malware.

Facebook said it was able to detect and disrupt the fake account network, which has now been neutralized. It also said it was able to block all fake domains associated with the hacker group, and notified users who were targeted by the hackers. It added that its security experts were not able to discern direct connections between the hackers an the Chinese state.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 25 March 2021 | Permalink

4 Responses to Chinese hackers used Facebook to target Uighur activists with malware

  1. Pete says:

    The Chinese “hackers” are very likely a front, or deniable cutout, for what is probably a Beijing based China-NSA activity.

    Highly likely the US-NSA as part of its Cybersecurity mission ( https://www.nsa.gov/What-We-Do/Cybersecurity/ ) assisted Facebook in detecting and combating the fake websites set up by China’s-NSA. China’s-NSA includes civilian MSS and military PLA personnel.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Given the grand scape of things it is lame how China treat the Uhigurs. China is decades behind!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Of course any attack on China should be met by as much force as any attack on NATO forces. That does not mean that all force should be directed towards establishing a common orbiting defense force. Because it should.

  4. Pete says:

    May be more likely the “hackers” are actually deniable cutouts for Beijing based Chinese”NSA”, which is staffed with MSS civilian and PLA military personnel.

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