This week, Facebook sued against the Israeli company NSO Group, which develops and sells spyware solutions and the so-called “legal malware”. Now it became known that Facebook has blocked the accounts of NSO Group employees.The reason for the lawsuit was the zero-day vulnerability in WhatsApp, which became known in May of this year. Vulnerability, according to Facebook, was sold to the NSO Group, and then the company helped use the problem to attack human rights defenders, journalists, political dissidents, diplomats and governmental officials.
According to court documents, more than 1,400 people in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Mexico suffered a total of 11 days from attacks.
As it became known now, Facebook has already banned the employees of NSO Group on their platforms.
“Your account has been deleted due to violation of our rules. You cannot log in to this account, and no one else can see it. We cannot restore accounts that were deleted due to violations of this kind”, – one of the employees of an Israeli company received such a message on Instagram.
The fact is that the lawsuit, among other things, seeks for a permanent injunction prohibiting all employees of the NSO Group from gaining or trying to gain access to the WhatsApp and Facebook services, platform and computer systems. However, it seems that the social network decided not to wait for the court’s decision and started banning all those involved in the NSO Group now.
Blocking complaints can be found on Israeli forums as well as on LinkedIn. Users write that 98% of the company’s employees affected the locks, and even affected people that were not related to the NSO Group.
“Yesterday, my personal profiles on Facebook and Instagram were deliberately blocked by the greatest privacy violator in human history, aka Facebook. Why? Because I work for a company called the NSO Group and, according to their claims, discovered and exploited vulnerabilities in the WhatsApp architecture to provide special services and governments with sophisticated tools to prevent the next 9/11,” – said NSO Group’s training director Guy Brenner.
At the same time, representatives of Facebook told the media that people which accounts were blocked will have the opportunity to appeal this decision and, possibly, will be able to restore their accounts.
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