The German intelligence agency (BfV) said China created fake profiles on social media platform LinkedIn to collect information on German politicians and officials. BfV alleged that the Chinese Intelligence targeted 10,000 citizens to possibly recruit them as informants.
BfV had released many fake profiles that might have been used for cyber espionage. Hans-Georg Maassen, head of BfV outlined that the fake accounts highlight China’s efforts to unsettle top-level German politics.
He said, “This is a broad-based attempt to infiltrate in particular parliaments, ministries and government agencies.”
Chinese authorities have denied allegations of counter espionage in the past. However, it has not responded to allegations from Germany.
The BfV released eight most active fake profiles used to target German LinkedIn users. These profiles look attractive and promote young professionals from China.
Some of the accounts used for espionage are “Allen Liu”, who is mentioned as a human resources manager at economic consultancy firm, and “Lily Wu”, who is mentioned as a think tank of eastern China. According to the reports from the BfV says, both of these accounts are fake.
The German intelligence agency has been constantly worried about Chinese intelligence using this technique to employ high ranking German politicians as informants.
BfV informed that they detected “increasingly aggressive cyber-espionage” such as “intensifying” efforts to impact parliamentary elections in September 2016. It added that the hacker group, known as “Fancy Bear”, was active during that time.
The German agency asked users to report if they discover any suspected accounts targeting them.