Facebook’s parent company, Meta, banned seven organisations that were supposedly spying on over 50,000 individuals in over a hundred countries. According to the organisation, the Israeli firm behind the widely-discussed Pegasus malware, which was allegedly provided to governments to facilitate spying, is merely one element of a much larger worldwide cyber mercenary economy. It also informed security researchers, other platforms, and policymakers about its newest discoveries.

Meta targeted the accounts of Cobwebs Technologies, Cognyte, Black Cube, and Bluehawk CI as they were based and created in Israel. BellTroX, a company located in India, Cytrox, a company based in North Macedonia, and an unidentified Chinese organisation were also prohibited and removed from the platform. This latest crackdown on spy businesses resulted from the social media giant’s months-long probe into the “cyber mercenary” sector.

The worldwide surveillance-for-hire sector collects intelligence, manipulates devices, and compromises people targeted over the internet. They also provide a wide range of invasive software tools and surveillance services to anyone in any country across the world. Recently, they have been quietly monitoring human rights activists, government critics, celebrities, journalists, and civilians in over 100 nations. According to Meta, these firms were also linked to over 1,500 Facebook and Instagram profiles. Facebook’s parent company also stated that it would issue warning messages to 48,000 users whose personal information it believes has been compromised online.

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                                                                    – Shubhangi Kumari Mishra

                                                                                                     (Content Writer, WCSF)

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