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German intelligence warns of increased Chinese cyberspying

File photo of Chinese flag waves in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Oct. 29, 2015. (REUTERS/Jason Lee)

The head of the German domestic intelligence service warned on Sunday that China reportedly is the use of social networks to try to grow, legislators and other government officials as sources.

Hans-Georg Maassen said his agency, known by its German acronym BfV, believes more than 10,000 Germans have been targeted by the Chinese secret agents posing as consultants, headhunters, or researchers, especially on the social networking site LinkedIn.

“This is a broad-based attempt to infiltrate, in particular, parliaments, ministries and government agencies,” Maassen said.

The Chinese hackers are increasingly launching attacks on European companies by means of reliable suppliers, he claims.

The BfV established a task force in the beginning of this year, discussed associated with the use of fake profiles on social networks over a period of nine months. The agency gave reporters what he said were eight of the most productive fake profiles on LinkedIn used by alleged Chinese spies.

The use of names like Lily Wu, Laeticia Chen or Alex Li, the profiles sport impressive resumes, hundreds of contacts and attractive pictures of young professionals.

The agency also named six organizations to the alleged Chinese spies use to cloak their approaches, including the name of the Association France Euro-Chine, and another with the name Global View Strategic advice.

Messages seeking comment from the organizations were not immediately returned.

Maassen warned that the Chinese cybergroups were also using the so-called “supply chain attacks” to get around companies online defense.

Such attacks have THE goal of employees and others who work for trusted service providers for the sending of malicious software in the networks of organizations, the attackers are interested in.

“The infections are difficult to detect, because network connections between service providers and their customers are not suspicious,” Lfr said. “This gives the attacker an even better disguise than before.”

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