Germany accuses China of covert social media operations

Authorities claim Chinese secret services use fake accounts to extract sensitive information

Computer data analysis. Photo credit: Online

BERLIN

German authorities have said they uncovered various fake social media accounts allegedly used by China’s intelligence agencies to deceive politicians and officials, and extract sensitive information.

Social media profiles such as “Lily W.”, “Laeticia C.” or “Jason W”, who were portrayed as a think-tank expert, a project manager or an entrepreneur, were in fact “fake accounts” and allegedly used to deceive politicians, officials, advisors and academics with sensitive information, German press agency DPA reported on Sunday.

More than 10 thousand German citizens were contacted this year through such fake accounts in LinkedIn and similar social media sites, the report has claimed.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV released last July a “security warning”, urging citizens to be careful when replying to messages through social media accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and XING.

It claimed that China had intensified its activities recently on social media and was using fake accounts to gather information and recruit intelligence sources.

But the agency has disclosed, for the first time, on Sunday the exact names of several social media profiles, allegedly used by the Chinese intelligence services, for intelligence operations targeting Germany.

The new findings were based on a report by a task group of the BfV, which monitored China’s alleged covert intelligence operations on social media sites like LinkedIn, between January and October 2017.


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