The German intelligence service released a warning on Sunday in which it said that China is using fake profiles on social networks to lure personal information from high ranking officials and politicians
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency mentioned that during a nine months investigation into the large scale security breach, more than 10,000 Germans were contacted by fake accounts on LinkedIn.
The fake profiles were disguised as headhunters, consultants, or scholars with names such as “Rachel Li” and “Alex Li”. Moreover, they attempted to trick people into “connecting” with them to eventually extract information on their habits, hobbies and political interests.
“Chinese intelligence services are active on networks like LinkedIn and have been trying for a while to extract information and find intelligence sources in this way,” a spokesperson said.
The profiles used attractive pictures of both men and women to attract and encourage people to connect with them. Reuters reported that one of the pictures was taken from an online fashion catalogue.
They went even further and claimed that they have jobs at organisations such as RiseHR and the Center for Sino-Europe Development Studies.
Many of those who have been contacted were connected to senior diplomats and politicians across Europe.
“This is a broad-based attempt to infiltrate in particular parliaments, ministries and government agencies,” said Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of BfV.