Yahoo News published excerpts from a report by analysts Zach Dorfman and Jenna McLaughlin, which described the reasons and extent of the collapse of the CIA communications system with illegal immigrants. It was built on a network of dummy sites that agents and their curators openly visited on the Internet, leaving messages to each other using hidden interface functions. First, in 2009, this scheme was discovered in Iran, and in 2011, the hunt for American illegal immigrants began in China.
The authors of the report do not describe exactly how the sites worked, if only because the Iranian and Chinese counterintelligence officers themselves did not spend their efforts on this. It was enough for them to accurately track who and when visited the site for spy purposes, and not just for the sake of interest. And in this, no matter how offensive the CIA will be, their opponents were greatly helped by the Google search engine, which, through advanced search methods, found many inconspicuous pages on the network for the Chinese and Iranians. The main thing was to understand what to look for.
Initially, a defector agent handed over the communication scheme to Iran, who revealed a list of sites given to him personally. There were both active pages and backup ones, for the future - IT specialists identified patterns in their design and began to search for analogs. First, Iranian counterintelligence checked the guesses on known but not yet disclosed American agents, and two years later launched a large-scale check of visits to such sites. More than 30 spies became "prey", and around the same time, the technology was at the disposal of China.
It was even easier for comrades from Beijing, with their total control of all digital networks. They established tight control over all traffic on suspicious pages and quickly caught dozens of agents. And even more - they began to create deceptive sites, ahead of the CIA and confusing its analysts. This happened in 2011-2013, and experts associate these events with the 2015 crisis, when the Americans were forced to withdraw hundreds of agents of different levels from work around the world.