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Facebook Sues Four Vietnamese Nationals for Hacking Accounts

Facebook this week announced filing two lawsuits — one against an organization and its agents and one against four individuals in Vietnam — over advertising-related schemes.

Facebook this week announced filing two lawsuits — one against an organization and its agents and one against four individuals in Vietnam — over advertising-related schemes.

According to Facebook, four individuals residing in Vietnam employed session/cookie theft techniques to compromise the accounts of employees at advertising and marketing agencies, leveraging them to run unauthorized ads.

As part of their scheme, the defendants allegedly used a malicious Android application, called “Ad Manager for Facebook,” to take control of the accounts. The app was hosted on Google Play, but it has been removed from the storefront.

The defendants, Thêm Hữu Nguyễn, Lê Khang, Nguyễn Quốc Bảo, and Pham Hữu Dung, created the Ad Manager for Facebook application and also tricked users into installing it.

The app prompted users to provide Facebook login details, along with other information, which the defendants then used to access the victims’ Facebook accounts and run ads, including some that promoted online scams.

“The group ran over $36 million in unauthorized ads. In this case, Facebook refunded the victims and helped them secure their accounts,” the social media giant says.

Facebook also filed a lawsuit against California marketing company N&J USA Incorporated and its agents Mohit Melwani and Vishaal Melwani, for engaging in a bait-and-switch advertising scheme.

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As part of the scheme, deceptive ads were placed on Facebook to promote merchandise such as clothing, watches, and toys. Upon clicking on these ads, users were redirected to third-party e-commerce websites on which they could complete the purchases.

However, those who fell for the scheme never received the merchandise they paid for, received products of a lesser quality than what had been advertised, or received something different.

According to Facebook, the defendants attempted to conceal the bait-and-switch scheme by blocking and hiding user complaints and negative reviews. The social platform previously disabled some of the defendants’ accounts and pages and is now taking an additional step against this type of abuse.

Related: Facebook Details Malware Campaign Targeting Its Ad Platform

Related: Facebook: Apple Privacy Changes Will Muck Up Online Ads

Related: Facebook Sues Chinese Company Over Ad Fraud

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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