Belgian Spies Cover Blown… On LinkedIn and Facebook. Doh!

spys linkedin

Being a James Bond-esque spy might seem like a pretty glamorous job, and for those lucky enough to have found such employment, no doubt the temptation to show off about their exploits might be tough to resist every now and again.

But even so, even the dumbest of secret agents involved in international intrigue knows that websites like LinkedIn and Facebook probably aren’t the best place to go advertising what they do, right?

Umm… Actually, no they don’t. The Belgian newspaper De Standaard reports that, on the contrary, a simple search for “state security” on the aforementioned LinkedIn throws up a whole bunch of spy types who have owned up to their supposedly ‘secret’ jobs.

The story was seized upon by the security firm Sophos – its NakedSecurity blog later managed to independently verify that several of the culprits boasting of their state security roles online do indeed seem to be in the employ of Belgium’s Coordinating Body for Threat Analysis (OCAM) and State Security Agency (Surete de l’Etat).

Take the example of Pascale, who proudly reveals herself to be a senior strategic analyst at OCAM, having previously worked for the Belgian Defense Ministry.

Unfortunately, it seems that it’s not just Belgium whose spies could learn a thing or two about secrecy either. NakedSecurity goes on to describe how it found a slew of individuals on LinkedIn that claim to be in the employ of our very own Central Intelligence Agency. Admittedly, this guy who claims to be an assassin is probably just screwing with us, but for the likes of Karen M. shown below, in all honesty she’s just being plain stupid.

Some might argue that these people do little more than desk jobs, but as NakedSecurity points out, there’s still an inherent risk if these individuals really are connected to the intelligence community.

By making it perfectly clear who they are, these people are leaving themselves open to “phishing attacks by adversaries who use the publicly available information on LinkedIn and other social networks to learn more about the individuals and to construct a social graph of their professional and personal contacts,” NakedSecurity writes.

Not to mention that it also makes them look like idiots.

Whether the CIA has any kind of policy regarding its employee’s social media presence is unclear, but De Standaard was quick to point out that Belgium’s security bosses were apparently “far from happy” to discover the news.