“…your Twitter account is one of a small group of accounts that may have been targeted by state-sponsored actors. We believe that these actors (possibly associated with the government) may have been trying to obtain information such as email addresses, IP addresses and/or phone numbers. At this time, we have no evidence they obtained your account information, but we’re actively investigating this matter…”
The text above was a notification received by some Twitter users. Twitter repotedly alerted users more than once they were being spied by the government. Twitter also admitted discovering to the government 7 out of 10 data requests.
Among the leading social networks Twitter is considered the less civically aggressive while Facebook is not only a fully state cooperator but openly advocates for the reduction of many liberties (that’s a different subject).
Alternatively, sadly alternatively, we have open source social networks like Mastodon, Diaspora, and I would like to remind the IRC despite is not a social network.
Going back to the biggest phishing attack in the history: Facebook enjoys a domesticated public educated under Microsoft’s rule of consumers and civil rights. The big majority of internauts are Windows users, users of an operating system openly designed to spy on them, for example, a deep research by Privacy International revealed Microsoft’s critical role in serious cases of government persecution and human abuse, France’s authorities demanded Microsoft to stop such practices.
The fact is Microsoft openly applied to patent a method to spy users before the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Just like in the physical world also in internet we gave up our rights, the money paid for each disk wasn’t more than a tip compared to what companies earn with our information even when Microsoft, in contrast with it’s competitors, is the only company which does not charges governments for spying on it’s users (others companies like Google charge the government for revealing information).
The case of Facebook: Facebook is more than a spying device, but a social reeducation method extremely aggressive to users, banning even users with uncommon names, political expressions are a risk to get banned too. Facebook also helps governments to violate their own laws. In Israel, my country for example, Facebook applies censorship upon government’s request, according to Facebook it also happens in United State, where in the physical world the freedom of expression had some historical importance. Today Americans are losing their freedom and Facebook, such as other social networks, are helping by convincing them to to give up their personality and thoughts to become part of an uniform society with a huge database of punishable forbidden words and ideas, this is a special tragedy when many people spend more time on social networks than in the real life, submitting themselves to an intensive reeducative process to become Epsilons of a brave new world.
In contrast with Windows, Facebook implemented active and visible actions against it’s users while Microsoft limited itsel to spy in the background allowing governments to access any information. Facebook’s services for the government are more complete and includes more than spying.
Facebook Phishing attack: hacking or user consent?
In contrast with a bruteforce or sniffing attack phishing consists in convincing the victim to give his information voluntarily. Wikipedia’s definition for phishing is:
Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
A good way to see how phishing attacks are carried out is reading Bima’s article on SETOOLKIT.
In the case of Facebook, or WIndows, the scenario is a lot worse. Through such companies we aren’t being scammed to reveal our information. Almost every user knows what is being done with his information, everyone knows about Facebook’s policies and almost no one likes Suckerberg’s views on how individuals should behave online: Mark Zuckerberg said openly he is fighting anonymity which is the only resource for many people to exercise the basic right to speak and I’m not talking about Saudi Arabia but about Western countries like Spain in which social network users are being arrested or prosecuted for speaking against the monarchy or for political jokes, or jokes on religion (In the European Union, Spain).
According to Wikileaks, Iran, a country with restricted communications too, concluded that rather than preventing citizens from using Facebook would be more effective to allow them to use it while spying on them.
Furthermore, Professor Keli Burns, from the University of South Florida has proven how Facebook, not only collects the information we are voluntarily giving, but is also listening in the background through devices like our microphone, even when you are not posting to Facebook, if the website is open, Facebook is collecting information from you and people speaking near you, even if they don’t have a Facebook account, turning every Facebook user into a trojan horse and surpassing users knowledge and consent, this is definitively hacking without a fraction of consent.
Like in every field linked to digital security and privacy the biggest tragedy in this history is not Facebook, nor Microsoft, after all they are multinational companies to profit, like most of companies (or human interaction with money in the middle) they lack of ethics but it was expected. The problem are users with this knowledge and the unused freedom to choose different options, or not not to use at social networks at all.