Facebook on Wednesday has claimed it uncovered and broken up a network of hackers from Palestine linked to President Mahmoud Abbas to spy on opposition, journalists and activists.
The social media giant said that the Preventive Security Service (PSS) “used fake and compromised accounts to create fictitious personas” and has targeted 800 individuals.
The PSS allegedly tricked their targets to install a malware disguised as messaging apps which could then access the targets’ personal information including text messages, contacts and location, Facebook also said.
The report also revealed that the agency’s targets were in Palestinian territories, Syria, and even reaching Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Libya.
Facebook head of cyber espionage investigations Mike Dvilyanski said that it was unclear how many downloaded the malware, also saying the malware may have reached other online platforms.
PSS spokesperson Ikrimah Thabet rejected the allegations saying, “We respect the media, we work within the law that governs our work, and we work according to law and order. We respect freedoms, privacy and confidentiality of information.”
The discovery comes before the upcoming legislative elections, the first to be held in 15 years scheduled on May.