China Accused of Espionage in German LinkedIn Profiles
By Faith Magbanua, December 13, 2017 00:12 AM
Allegations from coming from a German agency (BfV) has stated that China is using fake LinkedIn profiles to garner intelligence on German officials and politicians.
The agency claims that Chinese intelligence used the networking site to target at least 10,000 Germans. To add to that, the agency fears that there is a possibility for them to recruit the victims as informants.
According to BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen, "The accounts show China's efforts to subvert top-level German politics."
"This is a broad-based attempt to infiltrate in particular parliaments, ministries and government agencies," he said on December 10 2017.
However, amidst the allegations, China has denied similar claims of cyber espionage in the past and has not yet responded to the German accusation.
The BfV published at least eight of what they say are the most active profiles used to contact German LinkedIn users. They are designed to look enticing to other users, and promote young Chinese professionals who do not exist.
Some of the accounts include "Allen Liu", said to be a human resources manager at an economic consultancy, and "Lily Wu", who reportedly works at a think tank in eastern China.
Prior to the claims, the agency is worried that Chinese intelligence is using the method to recruit high-ranking politicians as informants.
They asked users who believed they had been targeted by suspect accounts to contact them.
Meanwhile, just last year, the BfV said they had discovered an "increasingly aggressive cyber-espionage" including "intensifying" attempts to influence September's parliamentary elections."
They also claim that the hacker group known as "Fancy Bear" or APT28 was particularly active - and it is believed to be controlled by the Russian state.
In November, the US Congress said Chinese news media outlets like Xinhua act as an arm of China's state intelligence agency and demanded that they register as foreign agents.
The US also has CIA spies inside China. According to the New York Times, up to 20 CIA spies have either been killed or imprisoned in China between 2010 and 2012.
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