Employees of Dutch tech companies are systematically approached by secret services from China and Russia. Spies try to contact employees through fake accounts on the business network LinkedIn to steal company data. The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) estimates that approximately half of the employees approached accepted an invitation. The Secret Service is now sounding the alarm. This is reported by Het Financieele Dagblad .
Espionage via LinkedIn
Thousands of employees at high-tech companies were allegedly approached via LinkedIn by Chinese and Russian spies in recent years. They pretend to be fellow scientists or technicians through fake accounts. The infiltrators approach the employees via a message and first try to gain trust. They then try to get sensitive information through blackmail and bribery.
Espionage via LinkedIn has been happening for years. Through cyber attacks and espionage, among other things, China and Russia have been trying to get advanced technology in Western countries in a targeted manner for years. The AIVD has already warned against Chinese and Russian infiltration attempts that undermine the Dutch economy.
The AIVD is very shocked by the number of successful contact attempts. LinkedIn requests are often accepted without thinking. The Secret Service will launch a social media warning later this week to make workers aware of the infiltration attempts from Russia and China.
Dutch high-tech companies often have rules for sharing sensitive information via social media, but do not prohibit employees from activity on LinkedIn or other networks.
The AIVD has expressed to the House of Representatives that it wants a broader mandate. According to the secret service, this is necessary to defend commercial companies and ‘the revenue model of the Netherlands’.
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