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Facebook and Instagram Overrun by Account Hackers, States Warn | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker | #hacking | #aihp


A group of 41 state attorneys general called on Meta Platforms Inc. to immediately bolster protections that prevent account takeovers by hackers “running rampant” across Instagram and Facebook, and to better respond to users whose accounts are compromised.

A letter from the National Association of Attorneys General, sent Tuesday, expressed the group’s concern that Meta isn’t doing enough to help individuals who’ve ended up defrauded for thousands of dollars or had private information manipulated. Victims left with little recourse have been contacting state AG offices, creating “a substantial drain” on their resources, the letter said.

“We refuse to operate as the customer service representatives of your company,” wrote the group, led by attorneys general in California, Illinois, New York, Florida, and Tennessee.

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Malicious actors, after gaining access to individuals’ Instagram or Facebook accounts, have scammed their friends and gotten accounts banned, the letter said. The attorneys general acknowledged that while account takeovers are a platform-agnostic issue, their prevalence on Meta’s platforms is “in a league of its own.”

“Users spend years building their personal and professional lives on your platforms, posting intimate thoughts, and sharing personal details, locations, and photos of family and friends,” the letter said. “To have it taken away from them through no fault of their own can be traumatizing.”

Meta spokesperson Erin McPike said in an email that scammers use a variety of platforms and are constantly adapting to evade enforcement.

“We invest heavily in our trained enforcement and review teams and have specialized detection tools to identify compromised accounts and other fraudulent activity,” McPike said. “We regularly share tips and tools people can use to protect themselves, provide a means to report potential violations, work with law enforcement and take legal action.”

The letter noted large increases in the number of complaints state attorneys general offices received from Meta users about lockouts from 2022 through 2023—Vermont saw the largest jump at 740%, followed by a 330% increase in North Carolina.

The group also speculated that the uptick dovetailed with Meta’s November 2022 layoff of nearly 11,000 employees. The attorneys general are seeking a meeting with Meta, details about how many accounts have been hacked over the last five years, and information about staffing dedicated to preventing lockouts and helping users in the aftermath.

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