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The government has introduced a new program to help civil servants and other citizens identify foreign spies using fake LinkedIn profiles to try to connect with senior officials and business leaders across the UK.

The software was launched by the Center for National Infrastructure Protection, which claimed that last year 10,000 UK citizens were targeted by malicious approaches on social or business networks.

Such approaches are used by “foreign spies and other malicious entities”, many of which are aimed at “current and former civil servants”, according to CPNI.

The app, which is available for free in Apple and Google app stores, is part of the “Think Before You Link” campaign. The program provides an “online guide to the company [including] a series of lessons ”.

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Other features of the app that the government said were informed by behavioral scientists include a “profile viewer that will help people identify potentially fake profiles and report anything they find suspicious.”

Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Chief Government Secretary for Cybersecurity, said: “The Internet threat through social media is growing, and fake profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are being created on an industrial scale. Many of these profiles are created as a tricky trick to obtain details from officials or members of the public who may have access to information concerning our national security. It is therefore very important that we do our best to protect ourselves and our information by ensuring that those with whom we connect online are the ones they identify with. This new application will be an important tool in this case. “

CPNI is a government agency that provides security advice to organizations that support the UK’s national infrastructure: including people, facilities, information and cybernetics that support 13 major sectors: government; protection; health; emergency services; transport; energy; communications; food; finance; water; chemicals; civilian nuclear operations; and space. The center cooperates with various other government agencies, including the Cabinet, the GCHQ and the Security Service – otherwise known as MI5, to whose CEO Ken McCallum he is accountable.

McCallum said: “Foreign spies are actively working to build relationships with those who work in government, in high-tech business and in academia. The “Think Before You Connect” app helps those who can get masked approaches, helps them conduct their own digital check before accepting unknown contacts online.

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