The Federal Bureau of Investigations has sent a warning to private sector partners about foreign intelligence services using social media accounts to target and recruit employees with U.S. government clearance, ZDNet reports.
“FIS [foreign intelligence services] officers will use popular US-based platforms and their respective countries’ social media platforms for personal and intelligence gathering/operations purposes,” the FBI said in a security alert the agency sent out in April.
The warning, authored by the FBI’s Washington Field Office in coordination with the FBI’s Office of Private Sector (OPS), was sent to government contractors whose employees hold various levels of security clearances, ZDNet adds.
The FBI warning comes as the United States has seen a rash of former government employees defecting or helping foreign intelligence services over the past few years. These incidents started with the now-infamous Snowden case, to the most recent one, involving a former U.S. Air Force service member who defected to Iran and then helped its newly adopted country hack her former Air Force colleagues.
The FBI alert includes links to government resources where contractors can educate their employees on how to handle themselves online. The optimum scenario would be if clearance holders would avoid disclosing that they have a government clearance online, in the first place.
Further, the alert also includes four cases the FBI presented as examples of different scenarios of how foreign operatives used social media and online portals to rope in government contractors into committing treson, ZDNet notes.