Mika Aaltola, Geostrategically motivated co-option of social media: The case of Chinese LinkedIn spy recruitment, FIIA BRIEFING PAPER, June 2019
Social media platforms enable a strategically motivated and harmful set of practices that leverage both their scalability and targeting potentials.The wider vulnerabilities of digitalized democracies have been much discussed in connection with election meddling and disinformation campaigning. However, the emphasis here is on the more direct vulnerability of mass spy recruitment.
The ongoing LinkedIn-based mass recruitment provides a case in point, representing a dangerous vulnerability that can lead to the theft of intellectual property and confidential materials, as well as to the setting up of influence networks. An important case in point is the Chinese co-option of LinkedIn for gaining operatives in and confidential information from Western states and enterprises.
Exposing the emerging adversary techniques used by resourceful state actors is the first counter-step. Moreover, preparedness needs to be highlighted, counter-measures modernized, and laws updated to address the new vulnerabilities.
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