Thursday, February 24, 2011

Online temptation the art of using search engines to honey trap businessmen, politcians, bureaucrats and military officials?

A honey trap is a scheme in which a victim is lured into a compromising sexual situation to create an opportunity for blackmail. Honey traps are the oldest form of extracting military secrets, political favors and corporate espionage by tricking individuals into relationship, followed by blackmail which ensures their cooperation. There are several cases of high ranking officials  who have been honey trapped into revealing secret information such as crucial stances on policy, negotiating stances and weakness of other officials.
An intelligence report claims China is training an army of agents to use Honey Traps for corporate espionage.  It was alleged that an Indian naval officer negotiating the retrofitting of an aircraft carrier with Russia, was honey trapped by a Russian blonde compromising the ongoing negotiation which resulted in a price escalation of several billion dollars. Julian Assange from Wikileaks was allegedly honey trapped by two Swedish women with whom he had unprotected sex with.
Search engines track user surfing behavior to target advertisements when they visit different websites. In order to spy a fundamental requirement is to study behavior, identify weaknesses and create opportunities for exploitation. For instance if a senior government official surfs the net for pornography, monitoring sites visited and images viewed would reveal his sexual preferences. Social networking sites such as Facebook, connect related individuals using prompts such as “People you may know”. This feature can be manipulated to introduce spies that meet the official’s preference. Once the bait is sprung in the online world, it can translate into physical contact and extraction of information.

Countries which host search engines or free/anonymous proxies, popular social networking sites and pornographic sites have the greatest advantage in setting honey traps.

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