Important Articles

​Escaping the honey trap {Internal Security}

Context
In June, it was discovered that a Pakistani spy going by the Facebook name “Sejal Kapoor” had hacked into the computer systems of more than 98 personnel of various defence forces, including the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, between 2015 and 2018.
 “Sejal” had lured these personnel (mostly men) by using the oldest trick in the book — honey traps — served with a new-age digital twist. She showed them videos and pictures via a malware originating from West Asia.
Amongst other things, classified details of the BrahMos missile programme were leaked to Pakistan.
Two viruses, Whisper and GravityRAT, were used with more than 25 Internet addresses to mask her actual identity.

History of honey traps

  • In the world of intelligence, information is the principal currency. Sex, or the promise of it, has always been an enigmatic subject. For millennia, spies across the world have used sex to encircle people and get access to valuable information.
  •  Some years ago, MI5 released a memo warning British banks and businesses against the threat of Chinese ‘sexpionage’.
  • During World War II, Salon Kitty, a Berlin brothel, was used by the German intelligence service for espionage. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany recruited men to seduce women in important positions in West Germany. 
Present Scenario
The nature of honey trapping has changed. With all aspects of our life turning virtual, from shopping to dating, it was only natural that the art of honey trapping too would turn digital.
There are two ways of entrapping someone online
  • The first is via a social media profile, by infecting their lives and devices.
  • The second is to find someone on adult sites and inject malware into their phones and computers.
Current Action
  • The military intelligence is carrying out selective checks on phones, laptops and desktops of officers and soldiers in sensitive areas, sources say. What India can do
  • There are other countermeasures that must be employed. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation runs fake child pornographic websites to catch offenders of the same crime. Other measures that India could take include investing in the latest technologies for early and better detection of viruses;


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