File photo A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva Oct. 2, 2014. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)
The north Korean hackers are preying on potential targets with the help of Facebook, but the company has thwarted at least some of their activities.
Last week, Facebook joined Microsoft and others in the security community to disrupt a secret campaign, the White House said Tuesday. The scheme involved creation of false personal Facebook accounts who tried to build relationships with potential targets, and coordinating other activities.
In a statement, Facebook confirmed his involvement and said that the Lazarus Group, a hacking collective, which many security experts suspect that works for North Korea, was behind the fake accounts. “We have also notified people who may have been in contact with these accounts and gave suggestions for improving their security of your account,” Facebook said.
It is not clear why the North Korean hackers have targeted Facebook users. However, social media is often punctuated with personal information, including e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and location data. In this case, North Korea may have sought to mislead its victims into installing malware, which can then be used to take over their computers.
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Microsoft, meanwhile, has a disabled account associated with the attack, and strengthened the antivirus software to prevent reinfections.
“Microsoft has acted before the attack in ways that saved many AMERICAN targets,” President Trump’s homeland security advisor, Tom Bossert, said at a Tuesday briefing.
The news comes as the US on Monday to publicly blame North Korea for the launch of the WannaCry ransomware attacks that infected more than 200,000 computers in May. Microsoft said that it came to the same conclusion.
“If the rising tide of the nation-state, attacks on civilians must be stopped, the government must be prepared to call out the countries that start them,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement.
There is little known about the Lazarus Group, but the elite hackers involved in the Sony Pictures breach in 2014, as well as several attacks on the banks.
For internet users, it is a good idea to not accept friend requests on Facebook or LinkedIn from people you don’t know. Even legitimate looking accounts are fake. Placing too much personal information on your social media page can also be vulnerable to hacking schemes.
This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.