Spy

Spies blow their own cover on social media sites

Peter Harris|

Several Belgian spies have had their covers blown this week. They weren’t outed by double agents or hostile governments. No they actually lost their covert status because of status updates. They shared the details of their high security jobs on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

The Brussels paper De Standaard is reporting that a simple search of the country’s top security and intelligence agencies as an employer turns up the profiles of employees oversharing their work information on public profiles.

While it’s nice that the spies want to be social, it’s hard to imagine how they missed the rather obvious security risks of publishing their jobs on open networks.

Although the security service hasn’t confirmed if the profiles are real, a high-level official has taken the unusual step of warning intelligence services staffers to cut it out and that their behaviour is putting themselves and their coworkers at risk.

De Standaard is reporting that this issue is also going to be brought before Belgium’s parliamentary committee on intelligence and security services.

This reminds me of a story from a few years ago in the height of the war in Afghanistan when the Canadian military felt the need to warn soldiers to be careful of their Facebook posts. (You know, because of Al Qaeda.) See: Why soldiers shouldn’t Facebook.

Suddenly concerned about our own national security being left in the hands of potentially dim-witted spies, I hastened to search LinkedIn for the profiles of CSIS employees. I’m happy to report finding no public profiles for members of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Well played, Canadian spies. Well played.

Not being a regular reader of the Flemish paper De Standaard, I found this story on TNW, Simple Minded Spies.

 

- Peter Harris

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