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Google, Meta supplied fake cops with data used to exploit minors

Apparently, you can just say you’re a cop and big tech will give you whatever you want.

ransomware data hacker
Image: Unsplash

A new ruse has made its way online that gives hackers and other bad actors a new way to harvest user data from big tech companies. Apparently, hackers can just pretend that they are law enforcement and companies like Meta and Apple will happily hand over user data.

This new scam was uncovered in a recent report from Bloomberg. The publication spoke to several law enforcement officials about these hackers. They confirmed that many major tech companies have become targets of this new charade.

Companies that have fallen for scams like this include Meta, Apple, Google, Snap, Twitter, and Discord.

Additionally, this particular scam has been used to target women and minors to request sexually explicit material. And hackers use the data gathered to threaten retaliation if the targets don’t comply.

One spokesperson from Google confirmed that the company had uncovered a fraudulent data request in 2021.

The spokesperson said that the company then reported the request to actual law enforcement. At least, Google assumes it’s been talking to real law enforcement.

“In 2021, we uncovered a fraudulent data request coming from malicious actors posing as legitimate government officials. We quickly identified an individual who appeared to be responsible and notified law enforcement. We are actively working with law enforcement and others in the industry to detect and prevent illegitimate data requests,” states Google.

Other spokespeople have given similarly empty statements in a desperate attempt to cover their asses amidst this revelation. Apple and Twitter did not provide a statement when asked about this.

How are hackers getting access to this data?

Essentially, these hackers are able to forge “emergency data requests” using compromised law enforcement email addresses.

They then simply send these requests to big tech companies and the companies hand over troves of users’ personal data. The more I think about it, the more ridiculous this all sounds.

Most of the billions of users on the internet agree that protecting our data and privacy online should be a number one priority. It’s mind-boggling that the major tech companies of the world still have yet to get on board with this idea. But, honestly, have they ever had our interests in mind?

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Contributing writer with a passion for gaming and tech. Probably getting wrecked by some kids in Rocket League.

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