Facebook has filed a lawsuit against a Ukrainian citizen for allegedly stealing and selling personal data of more than 178 million social network users on a hacker resource. According to documents of the court, the offender is Alexander Alexandrovich Solonchenko, a resident of Kirovograd, Ukraine.
According to Facebook, Solonchenko used the Contact Importer tool in the Facebook Messenger service in his criminal activities. The tool allowed users to sync their contact lists across their phones to find out which contacts were using their Facebook account and connect with them via Facebook Messenger. Between January 2018 and September 2019, Solonchenko, using an automated tool that identified himself as an Android device, sent random phone numbers to Facebook’s servers. If there was a match, the servers sent response information – the attacker collects this data. And on December 1, 2019, he put them up for sale on one of the specialized resources. On this resource, he appeared first under the nickname Solomame, then under the alias barak_obama.
Facebook sues Ukrainian who stole data of 178 million users
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According to Facebook, since 2020, Solonchenko has also stoled and put up for sale data from the largest commercial bank in Ukraine, the largest private delivery service in Ukraine, as well as a French analytical company. As a freelance programmer, he was fluent in Python and PHP, knew how to use the Xrumer program for mass messaging, and also had experience in automating tasks in Android emulators. Until about June 2019, according to the plaintiff; he also sold shoes on the Web, operating under the Drop Top brand.
The lawsuit is filed in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California. Facebook is asking a judge to issue a court order prohibiting the defendant from accessing Facebook sites; and further selling the stolen data. The Contact Importer function was no more available in September 2019; but it has repeatedly been the cause of data theft from the social network. In April 2021, another attacker stole the data of 533 million users of the service; Facebook claims that Contact Importer was also in use for this.
According to some recent reports, Facebook wants to change its name. The sources claim that the company’s management intends to create a brand that will suit the concept of the “metaverse”; and all products included in it.
Sources say the new name is being kept a closely guarded secret and may not even be known to the top management of the company. Presumably, it can be in associations with the Horizon application to simulate virtual office work.