China is being blamed for an attempted social engineering attack against Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), after several fake Facebook profiles were created and used to contact the Admiral’s family, friends, and colleagues.
According to the Observer, who broke the story on Saturday, NATO isn’t sure who is behind the social engineering attacks, but sources close to the matter said that the most senior people in NATO “were warned about this kind of activity.”
“The belief is that China is behind this,” the source told the paper.
According to the report from the Observer, the attackers used the fake social networking profiles to ask probing questions via public or private messages, in what looks to be an attempt to gain personal information on the Admiral or the person contacted. This has happened several times over the last two years.
'Facebook has cooperated in taking them down… the most important thing is for Facebook to get rid of them,” a NATO official told the Observer.
“First and foremost, we want to make sure that the public is not being misinformed. SACEUR and NATO have made significant policy announcements on either the Twitter or Facebook feed, which reflects NATO keeping pace with social media. It is important the public has trust in our social media,” the official added.
The Admiral often uses social media to talk about his latest actions, including a message on Facebook last year that announced the end of a military campaign in Libya.