Alexander Solonchenko, a Ukrainian native, has been sued by Facebook for allegedly scraping data from over 178 million users.
Citing The Record, Engadget reported that Solonchenko allegedly exploited Messenger’s contact import feature by using an automated tool that mimicked Android devices.
He uploaded millions of phone numbers to Facebook and collected data whenever the site returned information on accounts with phone numbers.
Between January 2018 and September 2019, the attacker allegedly ran the campaign and when Facebook shut down the importer, he started selling it on a black market forum in December 2020.
According to a report, Facebook tracked down Solonchenko after he used his forum username and contact information for email and job boards.
Facebook said that Solonchenko reportedly scraped data from other targets, including a major Ukrainian bank.
Facebook asked unspecified damages as well as prohibitions banning Solonchenko from accessing Facebook or selling its scraped data in its complaint.