What happened?
In this week, a Singaporean citizen, named Jun Wei Yeo, pleaded guilty to US justice department that he was actually working as an agent of Chinese Intelligence. Jun Wei Yeo was recruited by the Chinese government around 2015 when was just a PhD student in Singapore said the US Justice Department.

What crimes did the agent commit?
According to the report of reuters, The Singaporean man had set up a fake consultancy website to extract information from the U.S government workers and U.S military workers as well. His task was to garner as much information as he could from both the government and military workers of U.S . As mentioned in the report of BBC, He performed this Phishing task via LinkedIn platform. It is said that Kevin Mallory a former CIA officer, who was jailed for 20 years last May was targeted on LinkedIn for disclosing military secrets to a Chinese agent. Jun may be that Chinese agent.

Who is Jun Wei Yeo?
As mentioned in the report by TheQuint, he was also known as Dickson Yeo. Jun was a PhD candidate at Singapore prestigious Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy(LKYSPP). In 2015 when he was in Beijing to give a presentation on the political situation in Southeast asia, He was contacted by some individuals for recruitment. Later those individuals were revealed as intelligence operatives for the Chinese government. He joined PRCIS (People’s Republic of China intelligence Service) in 2019.

What task did China wanted him to accomplish? Why did he chose LinkedIn for targeting people?
The agent was tasked to collect and provide the reports about international political economic, diplomatic relations which were are non-public information. To gather such information he chose LinkedIn as a platform to target due to its massive user database of around 700 million people. India, ranks 2nd in terms of users on LinkedIn with a staggering number of 62 million+ users.

Jun then setup a website and a LinkedIn page posing as a Political risk analyst recruiting many individuals where he paid them to write reports. This report was then sent to Chinese government. This is when Jun started phishing military and government employees of U.S who were either dissatisfied with work, were going through financial crisis etc.

Are you on LinkedIn? What measures can you take to prevent yourself?
If you happen to have a profile on LinkedIn (many working individuals do have presence on it, including professionals), Then here are some steps you could take to reduce your possibility of being targeted to minimum:

  • Always verify your connection before adding up. If they happen to be unknown, it would be safe to think twice before adding them in your network.
  • If there are recruiters messaging you (either on your availability or by their personal interest in you) it is always considered wise to verify the contact thoroughly. Verify the person, their position via getting insights on their company page, get to know about the recruiters online.
  • It is a good practise to garner reviews about a firm or a company from their previous employees before applying. They might have a lot of things to say that you would want to know before proceeding any conversations with them.
  • If you are a vip account holder or are at an important position at your organization and happen to operate a LinkedIn account, Always keep your account non searchable by those who does not happen to be in your connection list. Also it would be better to only answer those accounts whom you know thoroughly. Disable your account to be searched by your mobile number, email account or your linkedin profile name in the LinkedIn setting.
  • Meanwhile, if you think any account that is either that is trying to approach you or already present in your connection network is suspicious, Then report it to the LinkedIn authorities so that they can look into it further.

Those are some steps that can help you secure your LinkedIn account to a very extent reducing your chance of being a target. For more tips and trick along with such security updates, do follow our website. We also happen to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Till next time. We hope you enjoy LinkedIn 😉 .

By Siddhant Pathak

Cyber security architect, 7+ years experience in cyber security industry, Tech savy, Nature lover, Bullet 350 rider

Have some thoughts? why not share with us here.