An investigation by the Australian media outlet Fairfax Media found that more than 200 former and present Australian intelligence officers had disclosed their classified employment in profiles on LinkedIn and other social websites including Facebook and Twitter.
Most of the spies disclosed just the fact of their employment at agencies devoted to intelligence, but some revealed significant details about their work.
Such revelations included employment at specific intelligence facilities, overseas postings, collaborative work with U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies, specialized linguistic expertise that hints at which regions they focus on and work on specific issues and technologies.
“Bad guys would really appreciate this info being available. It’s a big advantage to easily identify people who have or have had access to sensitive information,” Melbourne computer forensics expert Kim Khor told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The study also looked for jobs listed at well known cover organizations.
SocialTimes found information on LinkedIn that could potentially inform those with a vested interest in U.S. intelligence work. For instance, branches of the government including the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency have LinkedIn pages, complete with insights such as employees who have recently changed jobs.
For instance, one Naval Captain who just became division chief at the Defense Intelligence Agency had previously worked as a division chief for Europe and Africa at the Joint Intelligence Task Force – Combating Terrorism, suggesting he may still focus on those regions. He had also worked with electronic countermeasures, which thwart radar and sonar systems, while stationed in Oak Harbor, Washington. One of his skills is “security clearance,” for which four other users recommended him.