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How China Uses LinkedIn to Recruit Spies Abroad

来源:纽约时报    2019-08-29 10:53

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        WASHINGTON — One former senior foreign policy official in the Obama administration received messages from someone on LinkedIn offering to fly him to China and connect him with “well paid” opportunities.        华盛顿——一位曾在奥巴马政府任职的前高级外交政策官员在领英(LinkedIn)上收到有人发来信息,提出为他提供去中国的机票,帮他联系“待遇优厚”的机会。
        A former Danish Foreign Ministry official got LinkedIn messages from someone appearing to be a woman at a Chinese headhunting firm wanting to meet in Beijing. Three middle-aged men showed up instead and said they could help the former official gain “great access to the Chinese system” for research.        一位丹麦前外交部官在领英上收到的信息看似来自一家中国猎头公司的女子,她提出在北京见面。见面时出现的却是三名中年男子,他们表示可以帮助这位前外交官获得以研究为目的“接触中国系统的巨大机会”。
        A former Obama White House official and career diplomat was befriended on LinkedIn by a person who claimed to be a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology, with a profile page showing connections to White House aides and ambassadors. No such fellow exists.        一名自称加州理工学院(California Institute of Technology)研究员的人在领英上与一位曾在奥巴马白宫任职的官员和职业外交官成为联系人,该人的领英档案页显示,她认识许多白宫助手和驻外大使。但这个人并不存在。
        Foreign agents are exploiting social media to try to recruit assets, with LinkedIn as a prime hunting ground, Western counterintelligence officials say. Intelligence agencies in the United States, Britain, Germany and France have issued warnings about foreign agents approaching thousands of users on the site. Chinese spies are the most active, officials say.        西方反间谍官员说,外国特工们正在利用社交媒体试图招募有价值的人,领英是他们的一个主要猎场。针对外国特工在领英上跟许多用户进行接触,美国、英国、德国和法国的情报机构已发出了警告。官员表示,中国间谍在这个社交媒体上最为活跃。
        “We’ve seen China’s intelligence services doing this on a mass scale,” said William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, a government agency that tracks foreign spying and alerts companies to possible infiltration. “Instead of dispatching spies to the U.S. to recruit a single target, it’s more efficient to sit behind a computer in China and send out friend requests to thousands of targets using fake profiles.”        “我们看到中国情报机构在大规模地这样做,”美国国家反谍报与安全中心(National Counterintelligence and Security Center)主任威廉·R·埃瓦尼纳(William R. Evanina)说,该中心跟踪外国间谍的活动,就可能的渗透向企业发出警报。“与其派遣间谍到美国去招募一个对象,不如在国内坐在计算机后面,用虚假的个人档案向数千个对象发送好友请求,这样效率更高。”
        The use of social media by Chinese government operatives for what American officials and executives call nefarious purposes has drawn heightened scrutiny in recent weeks. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube said they deleted accounts that had spread disinformation about the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. Twitter alone said it removed nearly 1,000 accounts.        中国政府特工把社交媒体用于美国官员和高管们称之为邪恶目的的做法,已在最近几周引起了更多认真彻底的审查。Facebook、Twitter和YouTube都表示,已经删除了散布有关香港民主抗议活动虚假信息的账户。仅Twitter一家就表示删除了近1000个账户。
        It was the first time Facebook and Twitter had taken down accounts linked to disinformation from China. Many governments have employed similar playbooks to sow disinformation since Russia used the tactic to great effect in 2015 and 2016.        这是Facebook和Twitter首次删除与来自中国的虚假信息有关的账户。自从俄罗斯在2015年和2016年使用这种战术取得巨大成效以来,许多政府都已在采用类似做法散布虚假信息。
        LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, is both another vehicle for potential disinformation and, more important, an ideal one for espionage recruitment, American officials say.        美国官员说,微软(Microsoft)旗下的领英既是潜在的虚假信息的又一个载体,而且更重要的是,也是招募间谍的理想渠道。
        That is because many of its 645 million users are seeking employment opportunities, often from strangers. To enhance their prospects, many former government employees advertise that they have security clearances.        这是因为,领英6.45亿用户中有许多人在寻找就业机会,而且通常是从陌生人那里。许多前政府雇员为了提高自己的前景,强调自己有安全部门审查许可的信息。
        LinkedIn is also the only major American social media platform not blocked in China because the company has agreed to censor posts containing delicate material.        领英也是唯一未被中国屏蔽的美国主要社交媒体平台,因为领英同意审查包含敏感内容的帖子。
        Chinese agents often make offers over various channels, including LinkedIn, to bring the prospective recruit to China, sometimes through the guise of a corporate recruiting firm offering to pay them for speaking or consulting engagements or aid in research. From there, agents develop the relationship.        中国特工经常通过包括领英在内的各种渠道主动提出让潜在的招募对象去中国访问,有时伪装成企业招聘公司,提出请招募对象来做有偿演讲、进行有偿咨询活动,或提出为他们的研究提供帮助。特工们以此为出发点,与招募对象建立关系。
        “The Chinese want to build these options with political, academic and business elites,” said Jonas Parello-Plesner, the former Danish Foreign Ministry official who reported the apparent recruiting attempt by the Chinese that began over LinkedIn. “A lot of this thrives in the gray zone or the spectrum between influence-seeking and interference or classical espionage.”        “中国人想与政治、学术和商业界的精英们建立这些捷径,”乔纳斯·帕雷洛-普莱斯纳(Jonas Parello-Plesner)说,他就是那位报告了似乎是中国人在领英对他进行招募尝试的丹麦前外交官。“很多这类活动在灰色地带,或者说是在寻求影响力与干预或传统间谍活动之间的广大范围内猖獗。”
        People who have just left government are especially vulnerable because they are often looking for new employment, he and other former officials say.        帕雷洛-普莱斯纳和其他前政府官员说,刚刚离开政府职位的人尤其容易成为招募对象,因为他们往往要寻找新的工作。
        Nicole Leverich, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn, said the company proactively finds fake accounts to remove and has a team that acts on information from a variety of sources, including government agencies.        领英发言人妮科尔·莱弗里奇(Nicole Leverich)表示,公司会积极主动地发现虚假账户并予以删除,还有一个根据各种来源(包括政府机构)的信息行事的团队。
        “We enforce our policies, which are very clear: The creation of a fake account or fraudulent activity with an intent to mislead or lie to our members is a violation of our terms of service,” she said.        “我们严格执行我们的政策。这些政策非常明确:建立虚假账户,意图误导或欺骗会员的欺诈活动,都违反我们的服务条款,”她说。
        Some photographs on fake accounts are generated by artificial intelligence, The Associated Press reported.        据美联社报道,一些假账户上的照片是用人工智能生成的。
        In multiple recent cases, LinkedIn proved to be an effective recruiting tool. A former employee of the C.I.A. and Defense Intelligence Agency, Kevin Patrick Mallory, was sentenced in May to 20 years in prison for spying for China. The relationship began after he replied in February 2017 to a LinkedIn message from a Chinese intelligence agent posing as a think tank representative, the F.B.I. said.        在最近的多个案例中,领英都被证明是一个有效的招募工具。今年5月,美国中央情报局和国防情报局(Defense Intelligence Agency)前雇员凯文·帕特里克·马洛里(Kevin Patrick Mallory)替中国从事间谍活动而被判处20年有期徒刑。美国联邦调查局说,马洛里与中国情报部门的联系始于2017年2月,他回复了一名冒充智库代表的中国特工在领英上发来的信息。
        The Justice Department last October charged a Chinese intelligence agent, Yanjun Xu, with economic espionage after he recruited a GE Aviation engineer in a relationship that began on LinkedIn, according to the indictment.        美国司法部去年10月以经济间谍罪起诉了中国情报机构特工徐延军(Yanjun Xu,音),此前他招募了通用电气(GE)的一名航空工程师。起诉书说,两人的关系始于领英。
        Mr. Evanina, the counterintelligence chief, told Reuters last year that Chinese agents were contacting thousands of people at a time on LinkedIn. “It’s the ultimate playground for collection,” he said.        反谍报机构负责人埃瓦尼纳去年对路透社说,中国特工每次都在领英上同时联系数千人。“这是试探一大批人的终极场所,”他说。
        That level of activity has not dropped, though Mr. Evanina declined to give statistics.        中国特工的活跃程度并没有下降,虽然埃瓦尼纳拒绝提供统计数据。
        “People in the private sector and academia are also being targeted this way,” he said this month. “Foreign intelligence services are looking for anyone with access to the information they want, whether classified or unclassified, including corporate trade secrets, intellectual property and other research.”        “私营部门和学术界的人也是这种招募的目标,”埃瓦尼纳本月表示。“外国情报机构在寻找任何能够接触到他们想要的信息的人,包括企业的商业秘密、知识产权和其他研究,无论是保密的还是不保密的。”
        The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.        中国外交部没有回复置评请求。
        The former Obama senior foreign policy official, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardizing future interactions related to China, described in interviews a monthslong recruitment effort by someone who appeared to be a Chinese spy.        那位前奥巴马高级外交政策官员在采访中描述了似乎是一名中国间谍对他历时数月的招募努力。因为担心危及今后与中国有关的交往,这名官员要求不具名。
        In May 2017, five months after the official left his government job and just after he made a trip to China, someone called Robinson Zhang reached out via LinkedIn.        2017年5月,在这位官员离开政府工作五个月后,而且是在他刚刚去了一趟中国之后,一名叫罗宾逊·张(Robinson Zhang)的人通过领英对他表示了兴趣。
        Mr. Zhang’s profile photograph features the Hong Kong skyline, and he identifies as a public relations manager for a company called R&C Capital. In a message to the former official, Mr. Zhang described R&C as “an international consulting company based in Hong Kong” that specializes in “global investment, geopolitical issues, public policy, etc.”        张先生的领英档案使用的照片以香港的天际线为背景,他自称是一家名为R&C Capital公司的公关经理。在发给这位前官员的信息中,张先生把R&C描述为“一家总部设在香港的国际咨询公司”,专门从事“全球投资、地缘政治问题、公共政策等”方面的咨询。
        “I’m quite impressed by your CV and think you may be right for some opportunities, which are all well paid,” Mr. Zhang wrote, according to screenshots of the exchanges.        “你的简历给我留下了相当深刻的印象,我觉得有些机会可能很适合你,待遇都不错,”据记者看到的双方交流的截图,张先生写道。
        The words struck him as strange, the former official said, so he asked Mr. Zhang for a website. Mr. Zhang directed him to a home page with an image of the Eiffel Tower but little information about R&C Capital. It appeared to be “something he made up on the fly,” the former official said. (The New York Times viewed the site, which was deleted sometime after The Times emailed the company for an interview request.)        这些说法让他觉得很奇怪,该前官员说,于是他让张先生提供一个网址。张先生给他的网址主页上有埃菲尔铁塔的图片,但几乎没有关于R&C Capital的信息。那个网站似乎是“他临时编造出来的”,这位前官员说。(《纽约时报》浏览了该网站,但在时报向该公司发出采访请求后,该网站被删掉了。)
        Mr. Zhang repeatedly indicated that his company could pay for a trip to China. The former official asked multiple times for more detail on the company but did not get any substantive responses.        张先生一再表示,他的公司可以支付该前官员去中国旅行的费用。这位前官员多次向张先生询问公司的更多细节,但都没有得到任何实质性的答复。
        In a message in August 2017, Mr. Zhang said that Zhejiang University had “already determined a candidate” for a conference on China’s Belt and Road infrastructure projects before suggesting other opportunities — even though the two had not shared any earlier exchanges about this or any other event.        张先生在2017年8月发来的一个信息中说,浙江大学“已经确定了前来参加关于中国‘一带一路’基础设施项目会议的人选”,然后建议了其他的机会,尽管在他们以前的交流中没有提过该会议或任何其他事情。
        The former official referred Mr. Zhang to a speakers’ agency representing him and has not heard from Mr. Zhang since.        这位前官员让张先生与代表自己的一家演讲人代理机构联系,此后就再也没有听到过张先生的消息。
        Although the site for R&C Capital listed its address as No. 68 Mody Road in Hong Kong, there is no company by that name there. The company is also not included in the Hong Kong corporate registration database.        虽然R&C Capital的网站上给出的地址是香港么地道68号,但那里没有叫这个名字的公司。香港注册公司数据库里也没有这家公司。
        Mr. Parello-Plesner, the Danish official, had similar exchanges on LinkedIn with a user by the name of Grace Woo who contacted him in 2011.        丹麦前官员帕雷洛-普莱斯纳在领英上与一名叫格蕾丝·胡(Grace Woo)的用户有过类似的交流,该人是在2011年与他联系的。
        Ms. Woo said she worked for DRHR, a headhunting company in Hangzhou, China. When she learned Mr. Parello-Plesner was visiting Beijing in 2012, she suggested he stop by Hangzhou to meet with the company. She asked for an image of his passport so she could make travel arrangements, but he declined.        胡女士说,她在杭州的猎头公司DRHR工作。当她得知帕雷洛-普雷斯纳2012年要去北京时,她建议他顺便来杭州到公司看看。她让他提供护照的照片,以便安排行程,但他拒绝了。
        Mr. Parello-Plesner agreed to meet in the St. Regis Hotel in Beijing. Ms. Woo never appeared, but a young man who said he was from DRHR guided Mr. Parello-Plesner to a conference room, where three middle-aged men welcomed him. They said they were from a government research organization, but they did not have business cards.        帕雷洛-普雷斯纳同意在北京的瑞吉酒店(St. Regis Hotel)见一面。胡女士根本没有露面,而是一位自称来自DRHR的年轻男子把帕雷洛-普雷斯纳带进了一间会议室,在那里迎接他的是三名中年男子。他们说,他们来自一家政府研究机构,但他们都没有名片。
        “I thought, ‘This meeting is very dodgy,’” Mr. Parello-Plesner said.        “我心里想,‘这种见面很可疑,’”帕雷洛-普雷斯纳说。
        The men told Mr. Parello-Plesner they could fund his research if he worked with them, promising “‘really great access to the Chinese system,’” he said.        这些人对帕雷洛-普雷斯纳说,如果与他们合作,可以资助他的研究,还向他保证了“接触中国系统的巨大机会”,他说。
        Mr. Parello-Plesner, suspecting the men were intelligence or security officials, reported the meeting to British officials when he returned to London, where he lived at the time.        帕雷洛-普雷斯纳怀疑这些人是情报人员或安全官员,他回到当时居住的伦敦后,向英国官员报告了这次见面。
        “If I were LinkedIn, I would proactively do my homework now,” said Mr. Parello-Plesner, who has researched China’s foreign interference operations as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and wrote about his encounter last year. “This was just the tip of the iceberg.”        “如果我是领英的话,我现在就会主动做功课。这只是冰山一角,”帕雷洛-普雷斯纳说,他是哈德逊研究所(Hudson Institute)的高级研究员,研究中国对外国的干涉活动,并在去年写了一篇关于他在领英上遭遇的文章。
        DRHR was one of three companies German domestic intelligence officials singled out in December 2017 as front organizations for Chinese agents. Those officials concluded that Chinese agents had used LinkedIn to try to contact 10,000 Germans, and LinkedIn shut down some accounts, including those of DRHR and Ms. Woo.        DRHR是2017年12月德国国内情报官员公开点名的三家为中国特工充当掩护的公司之一。这些官员得出的结论是,中国特工使用领英试图与一万名德国人建立联系,领英关闭了包括DRHR和胡女士账户在内的一些账户。
        Last October, French intelligence agencies told the government that Chinese agents had used social networks — LinkedIn in particular — to try to contact 4,000 French individuals. Targets included government employees, scientists and company executives, according to Le Figaro, the French newspaper.        去年10月,法国情报机构告诉政府,中国特工使用社交网络——尤其是领英——试图与4000名法国人建立联系。据法国《费加罗报》(Le Figaro)报道,联系的对象包括政府雇员、科学家和公司高管。
        It can be hard to pinpoint the origins of the people behind fake social media accounts. The former Obama White House official and career diplomat, Brett Bruen, said a user by the name of Donna Alexander contacted him in 2017 on LinkedIn. Her profile says she is a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology, but the photograph is of an actress.        很难确定虚假社交媒体账户背后的人是谁。奥巴马政府前官员、职业外交官布雷特·布鲁恩(Brett Bruen)说,一名叫唐娜·亚历山大(Donna Alexander)的用户曾于2017年在领英上联系过他。她的领英档案显示,她是加州理工学院的一名研究员,但她放在页面上放的却是一个女演员的照片。
        A spokeswoman for the university said it has no record of an employee by that name.        加州理工学院的一名发言人说,该校的记录里没有叫这个名字的员工。
        Ms. Alexander’s network on LinkedIn includes White House officials and former ambassadors, according to screenshots seen by The Times. “This person seems to have ingratiated herself with or gotten accepted by a lot of people in the foreign policy structure of U.S. government,” Mr. Bruen said.        据时报看到的截屏显示,亚历山大在领英上的人脉包括白宫官员和前大使。“这个人似乎巴结了美国政府外交政策部门的很多人,或者让他们接受了她,”布鲁恩说。
        At the same time, Western intelligence agencies are discovering another potential issue with LinkedIn — some of their operatives have no account there at all, which might raise questions about a person’s true identity among foreign officials or counterintelligence agents. Mr. Bruen said one European official told him that his country’s intelligence agency was creating “the most boring LinkedIn profiles possible — a shallow cover so it doesn’t arouse suspicion.”        与此同时,西方情报机构发现他们在领英上有另外一个潜在的问题——他们的一些特工根本没有领英账户,这可能会让外国官员或反谍报机构对他们的真实身份产生疑问。布鲁恩说,一名欧洲官员告诉他,该国情报机构正在建立“可能是最平淡无奇的领英档案,这种肤浅的掩护是为了避免引起怀疑”。

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