According to a report published by Facebook, Chinese hackers have targeted Uighur activists, journalists and ordinary citizens living outside China. Facebook said the report was supported by research conducted by a cyber security company known as FireEye. Facebook added that the Uighur citizens who were targeted lived in the US, Turkey and Kazakhstan.
Chinese hackers accessed the smartphones of Uighur Muslims with malware used to monitor their activities. Chinese hackers also used cloned websites frequently visited by Uighurs to install spyware.
Hackers created fake Facebook accounts
According to the report published by Facebook, the hackers also created fake accounts to spy on Uyghurs on social media. They frequently posed as journalists, students, activists or characters that allowed them to penetrate the Uyghur community online and gain the trust of members. They also shared phishing sites with the groups to access their smartphones.
The US earlier this year claimed that China was guilty of atrocities against the Uighur community and other minorities living in Xinjiang, a claim that China has repeatedly denied. The US, Europe and Canada imposed sanctions on China. China has retaliated by imposing sanctions on several US, European and Canadian individuals and organisations. If you want to learn more about how to protect your network and avoid hacking, click here.
It is believed that the Chinese government is behind the hackers' activities.
The Chinese government is believed to be the sponsor of the hackers, but Facebook has not stated this directly. According to the report published by the company, the Chinese hackers were properly equipped and persistent in their actions. Hackers who have previously been linked to the Chinese government have also hacked into the smartphones of Uighur Muslims.
The report states that the group responsible for the hacks is known as "Evil Eye" and "Earth Empusa" to cybersecurity experts and is known for its espionage campaigns. Facebook's CEO will appear before Congress to address Facebook's role in the Capitol Hill riot.