Hackers are using LinkedIn as the ultimate phishing tool

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Sapann Design)

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 platform. 

While MI5 did not specifically name the platform, the BBC claims to have learned that the platform in question is LinkedIn

The technique is reminiscent of an attack earlier this year 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.

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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.


Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.