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>> It's a career networking tool used by hundreds of millions of people around the globe. But sources told Reuters that government of China is using LinkedIn for a very different purpose, recruiting spies. Senior US intelligence official, say China's intelligence agencies are using Fake LinkedIn accounts in a bid to recruit Americans with industrial expertise, and access to military and government secrets.
Jonathan Landay is reporting the story.>> What Chinese intelligence agencies do, is send blast direct messaging to individuals who have specific skills, who are targeted. And these direct messages can offer spectacular business proposals, they can offer academic cooperation, and that is how they go about using LinkedIn, to try and lure people.
>> The prospects are sometimes given all-expenses paid trips to China if they take the bait.>> Then the target is compromised either because they're videotape recorded taking money, which can then be used to blackmail them or through other means.>> With 562 million users worldwide, about a 150 million in the US, LinkedIn offers a vast pool of potential recruits.
>> People who use LinkedIn put all of their job experience, their background, their skills, and the businesses and US government agencies where they work.>> Five current and former US officials have been charged or convicted of spying for China, in the last two and a half years.>> We know of one case involving a former CIA officer named Kevin Mallory, who was lured to China, and offered money in return for leaking US Defense secrets to the Chinese, and he was convicted.
>> LinkedIn has acknowledged the problem, but it's so far offered up few details. US officials say the company hasn't purged fake intelligence accounts as Internet giants such as Facebook and Google have begun to do. China's foreign ministry has denied that it uses LinkedIn to recruit spies, calling the allegations nonsense.