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How Chinese spies used LinkedIn to snoop on German politicians

Germany’s mother wit service has published the details of social network profiles which it turns are fronts faked by Chinese intelligence to gather personal information approximately German officials and politicians.

The BfV domestic intelligence service took the unprecedented step of naming individual profiles it says are fake and fake compositions to warn public officials about the risk of leaking valuable intimate information via social media.

“Chinese intelligence services are active on networks be LinkedIn and have been trying for a while to extract information and locate intelligence sources in this way,” including seeking data on users’ modes, hobbies and political interests, they said.

Nine months of inquiry had found that more than 10,000 German citizens had been contacted on the LinkedIn practised networking site by fake profiles disguised as headhunters, consultants, think-tankers or woman of letters, the BfV said.

“There could be a large number of target individuals and fake silhouettes that have not yet been identified,” they added.

Among the phony profiles whose details were published were that of “Rachel Li”, classified as a “headhunter” at “RiseHR”, and an “Alex Li”, a “Project Manager at Center for Sino-Europe Circumstance Studies”.

Many of the profile pictures show stylish and visually appealing under age men and women. The picture of “Laeticia Chen”, a manager at the “China Center of Oecumenical Politics and Economy” was nicked from an online fashion catalogue, an decorous said.

A Reuters review of the profiles showed that some were coupled to senior diplomats and politicians from several European countries. There was no way to constitute whether contacts had taken place beyond the initial social median “add”.

The warning reflects growing concern in European and western intelligence go rounds at Chinese covert activities in their countries and follows warnings from the U.S. Cardinal Intelligence Agency over attempts by the economic giant’s security handlings to recruit U.S. citizens as agents.

The BfV invited concerned users to contact them if they encountered popular media profiles that seemed suspect.

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