After the spying scandal with the NSA and tech giants like Facebook and Microsoft broke last year, many Internet users became concerned that their data was falling into the government’s hands without their knowledge. However, a new layer to the NSA’s relationship to Facebook was revealed this week when a report was published at FirstLook.org that alleges the government agency impersonates Facebook servers to spread malware.
“In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive,” the report read.
As Gizmodo points out, the fact that Facebook has “Like” buttons on virtually all important websites, making the potential for spreading malware through fake servers a potentially massive weapon. According to experts in the FirstLook.org report, such a tool to infect specific targets would be difficult to control, and could potentially end up affecting many more Internet users than the NSA intends. Facebook has long stood opposed to the government’s rules regarding the disclosure of the relationship between them and the site, making it unlikely that Facebook had knowledge that their servers were being used like this.
Facebook’s large scale and massive user base makes it a no-brainer tool for the government to use for spying purposes. However, the NSA’s alleged ability to piggyback off Facebook’s technology has troubling privacy implications, to say the least.