According to MI5, the UK's security agency, at least 10,000 citizens have been approached by state-sponsored threat actors using fake profiles on a popular social media (opens in new tab) platform.
While MI5 did not specifically name the platform, the BBC claims to have learned that the platform in question is LinkedIn (opens in new tab).
The technique is reminiscent of an attack earlier this year (opens in new tab) that specifically targeted security professionals. Uncovered by Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG), the attack was pinned on North Korean state-sponsored hacking groups that employed various means - including creating elaborate fake personas - to break into victims' workstations (opens in new tab).
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According to MI5, the LinkedIn attacks are wider in scope and directed at staff in government departments and major businesses. Once connected, the scammers try to bait the individuals by offering speaking or business opportunities, before attempting to recruit them to pass on confidential information.
Know your friends
MI5 warned that, instead of directly approaching the intended victim, the scammers might first try to infiltrate their social network, using mutual acquantances to cultivate a false sense of security.
The intelligence agency has launched a campaign to educate government workers about the threat, and equip them with the know-how to spot fake profiles.
In a release, LinkedIn said it welcomes MI5’s ‘Think Before You Link’ campaign and offered insight into the ways in which it is already attempting to weed out bad actors, state sponsored and otherwise.
“Our Threat Intelligence team removes fake accounts using information we uncover and intelligence from a variety of sources, including government agencies,” shared LinkedIn.
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Via BBC (opens in new tab)