Hackers pretending to be police officers tricked Meta into handing over user data after filing fake “emergency data requests”.
The Facebook owner gave user information – including phone numbers and physical addresses – over to hackers, after they filed the falsified requests while pretending to be law enforcement officers, sources told AFP.
The hackers were able to avoid obtaining a court order and circumvent Meta’s processes by claiming the matter was an “urgent matter of life and death.”
Although police usually need a court order to force social media companies to hand over information, law enforcement agencies can get around normal procedures in urgent cases by filing “emergency data requests”.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials believe that some of the hackers may have in fact been teenagers from Britain and the US, according to Bloomberg.
One of those believed to have been involved in the plot is also suspected of being the mastermind behind the Lapsus$ hacking group, which has successfully hacked major companies including Microsoft, Samsung, and Nvidia.
The 16-year-old from Oxford is accused of being one of the leaders of Lapsus$ and it alleged the boy has accumulated more than 300 Bitcoin through his hacking activities.
The reports come after City of London police arrested seven teenagers amid a probe into the Lapsus$ group.