A mysterious hacker has for years been tricking Libyan citizens into infecting themselves with mobile and desktop malware by luring them to weaponized Facebook pages that impersonate key local figures and purport to deliver news of interest to the civil war-torn nation's people.

Researchers from Check Point Software Technologies have traced the campaign – dubbed Operation Tripoli – to an apparent Arabic-speaking actor of Libyan origin who goes by the alias "Dexter Ly." A review of the actor's very own Facebook account revealed screenshots of control panels used to manage victims, as well as sensitive information stolen from them, including secret documents from Libya's government, and emails, phone numbers and passport images of local officials.

In a research report today, Check Point says Facebook removed the offending pages and accounts after learning of the operation from the cybersecurity company. "Some of the pages impersonate important Libyan figures and leaders, others are supportive of certain political campaigns or military operations in the country, and the majority are news pages from cities such as Tripoli or Benghazi," the report states. "In total, there are more than 40 unique malicious links used by the attacker over the years, which were shared in those pages."

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