Scammed Facebook Ads Manager app to lock users out of accounts

  • The app claims to help manage Facebook ad pages, but is likely a backdoor into user accounts.
  • It’s readily available on Apple’s App Store and appears in searches on Facebook’s advertising tool.
  • One user with a locked account said Facebook had little customer support. “Facebook sucks.”

A search for “Facebook Page Manager” in Apple’s app store will bring up several legitimate apps to help people and ad agencies handle ads on the platform. As a result, a new app that looks legitimate but isn’t. The app is said to be a backdoor for hackers to take full control of user accounts.

Two ad agency sources told Insider that the app, Pages Manager Suite, was the second result in a search for a Facebook ad manager in the Apple app store, which the app confirmed through its own searches. After using the app, both agencies’ sources were locked out of their accounts, and the hackers started running ads through the accounts and using their budgets.

2022 Meta Inc. is listed as the company for the app (Facebook changed its company name to Meta Platforms last year). The developer of the app is listed as Bronzelab SG Ltd which has no web presence. The listed seller of the app is VI DO CO., LTD, and a search for registered companies shows associations with numerous entities registered in Vietnam. Facebook last year A number of individuals and entities in the country were indicted for their involvement in the hacking ring, saying they had spent $16 million on advertising.

A company spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Apple has its own app store just as safe and said it “provides multiple layers of protection to help ensure applications are free of known malware and have not been tampered with,” according to it Support siteThe app was originally submitted as a simple document manager without Facebook functionality, but its functionality changed after it hit the app store, a company spokesperson said. After an Insider inquired about the app, Apple removed it from the store.

Apple has long insisted that it only allows the best apps into its App Store, the only place an estimated 900 million active iPhone users can access and download apps. However, last year’s analysis The Washington Post estimates that 2 percent of Apple’s most popular apps are scams.

The head of an independent advertising agency said they downloaded the Pages Manager app two weeks ago, thinking it would help them run Facebook ads on their phones. Within 10 minutes, the person lost all access to his personal Facebook account and several accounts they ran for clients. All emails and passwords have been changed and the account cannot be reset because the code was sent to a new email, possibly controlled by a hacker.The person said the only way to get online customer support is to login account.

“It was infuriating and a nightmare,” they said. The person has been advertising on Facebook for years, but still has no access to his work account. They managed to regain access to their personal accounts after emailing Facebook executives in person and asking for help.

Advertising accounts for the vast majority of Facebook’s nearly $120 billion in annual revenue, but it doesn’t offer direct customer service support for customers who don’t have access to their accounts. The Reddit page for Facebook ads has been flooded with posts by ad managers in recent months saying they have been hacked and have little support from the platform.

“They have a phone number you can call,” the agency chief said. But after being instructed to choose a number for Facebook or Instagram, the caller was simply told there was no phone support available and disconnected. “If you have a problem at Google, they’ll talk to you. At Amazon, they’ll talk to you.”

If that person could find an alternative to Facebook, they would, but not yet. “Facebook sucks, but they kind of locked in the market.”

Are you a Facebook employee or someone with an insight to share?Contact Kali Hays at using the secure messaging app Signal Call 949-280-0267, or DM @hayskali on Twitter. Reach out using non-working equipment.

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