Privacy Police

If You Work for a Spy Agency, Maybe Don’t Brag About It on LinkedIn

"John S. is a Secret Agent at CIA."
 If You Work for a Spy Agency, Maybe Dont Brag About It on LinkedIn

This guy: prooooobably not a CIA assassin. (Photo: LinkedIn)

Sure, being a James Bond-level spy is a glamorous job, one that most people would love to humblebrag about online. But if you’re a secret agent working in international espionage, you might not want to let people know about that on LinkedIn.

Flemish daily newspaper De Standaard reports that a simple search for “State Security” on LinkedIn pulls up a crop of spies who have copped to their “secret” jobs on the social network. This is essentially the Belgian equivalent of listing your position as “Top Secret Spy at the CIA” on LinkedIn.

Sophos’s NakedSecurity independently verified┬áthat some of the culprits have active LinkedIn profiles. Take Pascale, who lists her job as a senior strategic analyst at OCAM,┬áBelgium’s Coordinating Body for Threat Analysis. Oh, and previously she worked for Belgian Defence!

According to NakedSecurity, a slew of people also list their employer as the Central Intelligence Agency, though the dude claiming to be an assassin who’s posing with a Ben Franklin impersonator in his picture is probably just fucking with us.

Having an active social network footprint online can be dangerous for people with ties to intelligence agencies as “those members might become the targets of sophisticated phishing attacks by adversaries who use the publicly available information on LinkedIn and other social networks to learn more about the individuals and to construct a social graph of their professional and personal contacts,” writes NakedSecurity.

Also, it makes you look silly.

It’s unclear whether having a social media presence–particularly for low-level, not secret jobs–is against CIA policy in the U.S, though the Belgian security agency certainly wasn’t happy about the news. We’ve reached out to the CIA and will update when we hear back.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com