The Government has launched a new app to prevent people being tricked online by foreign spies.
Called ‘Think Before You Link’, it will help individuals identify personal profiles that may be fake, and allow them to report anything suspicious.
MI5 claims it has seen over 10,000 attempts by spies to fool UK users on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
Director General Ken McCallum said: “Foreign spies are actively working to build relationships with those working in government, in high-tech business and in academia”.
The app has been launched by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay, Lead Minister for Cyber Security, said fake profiles are being created on an “industrial scale”, with many being used to gain national-security information.
In the first half of 2021 alone, LinkedIn prevented 11.6m fake accounts from being registered.
Current and former civil servants are attractive targets for scammers because of their experience and knowledge, the Government
Many are contacted on LinkedIn by unknown users promising well-paid consultancy work.
Research from Portsmouth University suggests that around 16.8m LinkedIn users in the UK may have accepted contacts from unknown people, and that awareness of the threat from spies using fake profiles is lower than other online threats.
To install the app, search for ‘Think Before You Link’ on the Google Play Store (Android) or Apple App Store (iOS).