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NCSC Features

20200928 nevernight

 

Do you want to connect?  Understand that foreign intelligence entities and criminals routinely use deception on social media platforms to try and connect with people who have access to information they want.  Before you link online with someone you don’t know, think about the risks it may pose to yourself, your family, your organization and even national security.

 

The “Nevernight Connection”

The FBI and the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) have released a new movie, “The Nevernight Connection,” to raise awareness of how hostile actors use fake profiles and other forms of deception on social media to target individuals in government, business and academic communities for recruitment and information gathering.

 

Inspired by true events, the 30-minute video details the fictional account of a former U.S. Intelligence Community official targeted by a foreign intelligence service via a fake profile on a professional networking site and recruited to turn over classified information.

 

 

The Threat

On professional networking sites and other social media platforms, hostile actors routinely pose as headhunters, interested employers or people with enticing career opportunities in order to connect   and develop relationships with people who have access to valuable information.

 

Over time, they attempt to elicit information from their targets, including about their work and contacts. In some cases, promising targets are offered all-expense-paid trips overseas for meetings or presentations, where they are pressured to turn over more information. Some foreign intelligence services are doing this on a mass scale, targeting thousands of people globally via social media.  


While current and former government employees are at risk from these schemes, individuals in the private sector and academic and research communities are also being targeted this way by hostile actors seeking to acquire trade secrets, proprietary data and information about cutting-edge research and technology.

 

Mitigation

At a minimum, the NCSC and FBI encourage the public to practice basic cyber hygiene when receiving an invitation to connect via social media. 

 

  • Never accept an invitation to connect from someone you do not know, even if they are a friend of a friend
  • If possible, validate invitation requests through other means before accepting them
  • Exercise caution when posting information about yourself, your job and contacts on social media, as it could draw unwanted attention from adversaries and criminals
  • Report suspicious online approaches to appropriate authorities

 

Additional Resources 

U.K. Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)

  • “Think Before You Link” — These CPNI materials provide advice on how to recognize malicious online profiles, realize the threat they pose, respond appropriately and minimize the risk of being targeted in the first place
  • “Glitch” — This CPNI video identifies how hostile actors use professional networking sites to build relationships with targets and attempt to access sensitive information

 

National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC)

 

 

 

 

These unclassified, one-page "Safeguarding Our Future " bulletins provide a brief overview of a specific foreign intelligence threat, as well as impacts of that threat and steps for mitigation.

 

 

27 May 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Future bulletin -- Would you want a foreign government to have your DNA?

 

10 June 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Future bulletin -- Don't let foreign actors hijack your research!

 

19 June 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Future bulletin -- Beware of foreign gifts with strings attached

 

25 June 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Future bulletin -- Protect your organization's crown jewels

 

6 July 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Future bulletin -- Virtual Telework Platforms – Protect Your Company Information

 

23 July 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Future bulletin -- Prevent Foreign Governments from Undermining Our Public Health through Disinformation

 

13 August 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Future bulletin -- Keep the Healthcare and Public Health Sector Supply Chain Safe

 

20 August 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Election bulletin -- Foreign Adversaries are Targeting U.S. Elections with Disinformation

 

26 August 2020 NCSC Safeguarding Our Election bulletin -- Foreign Adversaries Could Use Deepfakes to Influence U.S. Elections

 

Check back for more bulletins coming in the future!

Below are links to the press release, executive summary, and National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States 2020-2022

 

 

 

The Wall of Spies Experience

 

NCSC’s “Wall of Spies Experience” provides more than 200 stories of espionage and sabotage from our country’s founding to contemporary times.

 

National Insider Threat Awareness

 

NCSC is teaming up with federal partners to raise awareness of insider threats and share best practices for mitigating these risks.

Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report

 

This FY-17 Annual Report on Security Clearance Determinations provides the current state of U.S.G security clearances

 

National Counterintelligence and Security Center