When users played a quiz, "malicious browser extensions" were installed on their phones, tablets and computers.
The defendants, Gleb Sluchevsky and Andrey Gorbachov, are accused of using fake apps to trick users into install malicious browser extensions. But the suits give Facebook a chance to defend itself against charges of being lax with privacy and security, explaining how users have been victimized by hackers - not the platform itself.
A pair of Ukrainian hackers used seemingly innocuous online quizzes and surveys, with titles like "What does your eye color say about you?", to gain access to private Facebook user data and to target users with "unauthorized" advertisements, the social media company says.
The lawsuit also said the two developers misrepresented themselves by making accounts under "aliases such as "Elena Stelmah, ' 'Amanda Pitt, ' 'Igor Kolomiiets" to register as web application developers with Facebook".
"In total, defendants compromised approximately 63,000 browsers used by Facebook users and caused over $75,000 [R1,050,000] in damages to Facebook", the company said in court documents.
The bait for the malware was that catnip for simpletons, the personality test. Users were encouraged to log in via Facebook before downloading the malicious browser extension which stole publicly visible information and private friend lists. This amount according to the civil complaint was what Facebook spent in removing the malicious plugins from its website past year.
Facebook recalled that it announced that some user's accounts had been compromised on October 31st, 2018. Also, the hackers claimed of having scraped data from 120 million accounts on Facebook.
Whether Facebook can expect any success from the suit is up in the air, given it can't compel Gorbachov or Sluchevsky to come to the USA to face trial.
From the implications of the lawsuit, Facebook may have allowed these hackers into their network by approving them as developers. CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a note while stating a vision of more "privacy-focused" company.
"Sometimes, those advertisements could be more valuable", Patterson said, "because they're hyper-targeted toward specific groups of people versus a broadcast audience". In both cases, the defendants are overseas and seem unlikely to suffer serious consequences.
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