A new report suggests that Russian agents posing as attractive women have targeted members of the U.S. military on Facebook to collect intelligence.
According to Politico, Russian agents targeted U.S. servicemen and sent them friend requests pretending to be young females. The effort also included phishing attacks on Twitter accounts belonging to people at the Department of Defense.
The goal was to collect intelligence on U.S. military and DOD personnel.
Threat intelligence manager John Bambenek, who works at Fidelis Cybersecurity, told Politico, "Some are quite unsophisticated [attractive woman sending friend requests], some get more complicated. Spies understand that a great deal can be discerned about what militaries are up to based on the unclassified behavior of soldiers."
Said DOD spokesperson Linda Rojas, "The proliferation of internet-based communications and social media applications has elevated the potential for nefarious use that could affect our personnel."
The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russia tried to influence the presidential election last year via computer hacks and fake news stories. Russia has denied doing anything wrong, but officials — including former FBI director James Comey — said the evidence is clear.
Cybersecurity company Fireeye said in December Russia used social media during its election hacking attempts as well.
"The dawning of Russia as a cyber power is at a whole other level than it ever was before," Fireeye chairman David DeWalt said. "We've seen what I believe is the most historical event maybe in American democracy history in terms of the Russian campaign."
There are several ongoing investigations, including at least one at the Department of Justice, probing whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia in any way. Trump's administration, meanwhile, is trying to patch things up with America's Cold War foe.
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