A recent report reveals that a number of major technology companies including Facebook, Apple, and Google, have been tricked into handing over sensitive personal information about customers that was used to harass and even sexually extort minors.
Bloomberg reports that according to four federal law enforcement officials and two industry investigators, a number of major tech firms including Facebook, Apple, Google, Snapchat, Twitter, and Discord have been tricked into handing over sensitive personal information of users in response to fraudulent legal requests. This information was reportedly used to harass and in some cases sexually extort minors.
The data was reportedly sued to target specific women and minors and in multiple cases was used to pressure and blackmail them into creating and sharing sexually explicit content. Those perpetrating the attacks are reportedly successfully impersonating law enforcement officers making it almost impossible for victims to protect themselves from the attacks.
It is currently unclear how many times data requests have been used to sexually extort minors. The number of individuals affected by the attackers is currently being assessed by the tech firms and law enforcement officials.
Alex Stamos, a former chief security officer at Facebook, commented: “I know that emergency data requests get used for in real life-threatening emergencies every day, and it is tragic that this mechanism is being abused to sexually exploit children.”
Stamos added: “Police departments are going to have to focus on preventing account compromises with multifactor authentication and better analysis of user behavior, and tech companies should implement a confirmation callback policy as well as push law enforcement to use their dedicated portals where they can better detect account takeovers.”
A Google spokesperson commented: “In 2021, we uncovered a fraudulent data request coming from malicious actors posing as legitimate government officials. We quickly identified an individual who appeared to be responsible and notified law enforcement. We are actively working with law enforcement and others in the industry to detect and prevent illegitimate data requests.”
A Facebook spokesperson commented that the site reviews every data request for “legal sufficiency and use advanced systems and processes to validate law enforcement requests and detect abuse.”
Read more at Bloomberg here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com
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