That LinkedIn recruiter offering you an exciting new role might be a foreign intelligence recruitment attempt intending to "win your trust and steal your secrets", ASIO has warned as a part of its new awareness campaign.
Australia's domestic spy agency, ASIO, has cautioned security clearance holders as well as general citizens to be wary of interactions on social media amid the threat of foreign intelligence service recruitment.
It's urging those on social media and professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, to be "mindful" of what personal and professional information they choose to publish as it could help foreign spies more easily identify them as a target.
The agency's director-general, Mike Burgess, said while espionage was one of the oldest jobs on the planet, the rise of the internet had made it a much simpler task.
"Social media and professional networking sites are fertile hunting grounds for foreign spies trying to identify, groom and recruit Australians who have access to sensitive information," Mr Burgess said.
"In the past, attempted recruitment was time-intensive, expensive and risky because the foreign intelligence officers would need to operate on location and in person. Now, they can use the internet to work from the safety of their overseas headquarters, sending thousands of friend and networking requests with the click of a mouse."
The threat is said to come from multiple countries.
Mr Burgess said ASIO was not trying to stop Australians living their lives online but rather to get them thinking about the types of unsolicited communications they might come in contact with.
"ASIO is not telling people to stop using social media and professional networking sites - we understand these are an important part of how we live and work," Mr Burgess said.
"If a stranger reaches out online, ask yourself if you really know who you are talking to. The friendly, generous young person claiming to be a global head-hunter or think tank researcher might actually be a foreign spy trying to win your trust and steal your secrets."
The advice comes nearly a month after ASIO outlined foreign interference as one of the country's key threats in its 2019-20 annual report.
The agency said there were now more foreign spies operating in Australia than there were during the Cold War.
"Foreign governments are seeking information about Australia's capabilities, research and technology, and domestic and foreign policy," the report read.
"Almost every sector of Australian society is a potential target of foreign interference, and the threat manifests itself in different but equally unacceptable ways.
"In all states and territories, at every level of government, intelligence services are seeking to cultivate politicians who will advance the interests of the foreign country."