As explained by Meta:
“This phishing scheme involved the creation of more than 39,000 websites impersonating the login pages of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. On these websites, people were prompted to enter their usernames and passwords, which Defendants collected.”
That seems like a lot of fake pages.
Meta says that the group used a relay service to redirect web traffic to their phishing websites ‘in a way that obscured their attack infrastructure’. That enabled them to conceal the true location of the phishing websites, and the identities of their online hosting providers and the defendants. Meta says that these attacks increased in March 2021, which is when it began working with the relay service, which resulted in the suspension of thousands of URLs to the phishing websites.
Which is a good result, but unfortunately, it’s likely a drop in the ocean, with web scammers constantly evolving their methods and finding new ways to target users in an effort to trick them out of their money, or sell their info onto third parties for other nefarious means.
Which is why Meta’s legal enforcement efforts are important, adding an extra level of penalty, and risk, for these scammers. Meta has been increasing its legal recourse efforts over the past few years, as it seeks to deter future scammers by establishing stronger precedent for such crimes, which, eventually, has seen the courts recognizing the significance of such cases, and instituting harsher fines and demerits as a result.
Ideally, those stronger penalties will make the process simply too risky for future prospective scammers, which will then see fewer incidents as a result.
That hasn’t, however, happened yet. As noted, spammers and scammers are always evolving their tactics, which means that Meta, and other web providers, need to stay on their toes to detect them.
But maybe, as the internet becomes a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives, and legislators recognize the damage caused by such process, that will eventually establish more disincentive for scammers through ongoing legal cases like this.
Which, again, is why Meta’s ongoing legal cases against such groups play a key role in deterrence.