UK Intel Launches Campaign To Combat CCP Espionage Campaigns Conducted Through LinkedIn.


The United Kingdom’s intelligence agency is launching a campaign combatting foreign espionage campaigns – overwhelmingly conducted by the Chinese Communist Party– against British civil servants.

The “Think Before You Link” campaign is coordinated by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), an arm of the United Kingdom’s intelligence agency MI5, and set to launch this week. “While officials would not give details about which countries or social media platforms were of most concern, there is a long history of the Chinese Communist Party using the networking site LinkedIn to ensnare espionage targets,” Financial Times adds.

“Over 10,000 British nationals have been targeted online in the past five years by hostile states such as China, as foreign spies increasingly manipulate professional networking sites to recruit new agents and steal secrets,” Financial Times notes. CPNI, however, alleged this figure was a “conservative estimate”.
“Posing as recruiters, foreign spies lure their targets to meetings in person where they may be subjected to bribery or blackmail in order to obtain intelligence,” the outlet adds.
The campaign follows indictments of researchers and government officials for using platforms such as LinkedIn to identify potential American researchers to exploit:
Last year a US court heard that Dickson Yeo, an academic at George Washington University, had used LinkedIn to target US military and government personnel on behalf of Chinese intelligence. He formed online connections with state department officials, former military commanders, Pentagon employees and think-tank experts with the aim of passing information from them to Beijing.
In 2019, former CIA officer Kevin Mallory was sentenced by the US to 20 years in prison for delivering military secrets to Chinese intelligence after first being approached on LinkedIn.

Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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