For years, a California man harassed and terrorized young girls, extorting them for nude photos and videos and threatening to kill and rape them or shoot up their schools. Much of this abuse took place on Facebook, and now, months after the man, Buster Hernandez or “Brian Kil,” pleaded guilty, Motherboard has discovered that Facebook paid a security firm to develop the hack that the FBI eventually used to bring Hernandez down.
According to Motherboard, Facebook paid a cybersecurity consulting firm six figures to develop a hacking tool that could infiltrate the privacy-focused Tails OS. The program reportedly took advantage of a flaw in the Tails’ video player and revealed the real IP address of the person viewing the video. Facebook gave the tool to an intermediary who handed it to the Feds, current and former Facebook employees told Motherboard. The FBI then had a victim send a booby-trapped video to Hernandez, ultimately leading to his arrest.