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How do you know if you're being targeted by an agent of a foreign power? It used to be easy, as soon as he ordered red wine with his fish* you knew he wasn't the right sort of chap.

Nowadays when nation states are more likely to befriend you on social media in order to try to steal sensitive data you can no longer rely on the wine list to help you spot a bad guy.

Fortunately the UK Security Service MI5 has this covered and is launching an app to help people spot suspicious approaches on social media. Think Before You Link gives users a series of questions to help them work out if someone who has approached them might be not be who they appear.


It won't definitively spot a Rosa Klebb but it will help you identify the signs of a fake identity. It includes a reverse image search tool to identify pictures which might have been re-used from other sites, a common feature of fake profiles.

There are also case studies aimed at particular sectors and a reporting tool to highlight suspicious profiles. Users have the opportunity to earn trophies and certificates from the app which can be shared with company security teams.

Steve Barclay, lead government Minister for cyber security, warns that fake profiles are appearing on an 'industrial scale'. He says, "It is therefore crucial that we do all we can to protect ourselves and our information, ensuring those who we connect with online are who they say they are. This new app will be an important tool in that endeavour."

You can learn more about the app on its website and it's available now from the App Store and Google Play.

* From Russia With Love

Image Credit: Richard Peterson / Shutterstock

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