Intelligence agencies have alerted Government Departments against engaging with Chinese and Pakistani girls on social media as many Twitter handles and Facebook accounts are being used by foreign agencies as honey-traps to target officials handling sensitive information relating to national security and advanced scientific data, especially those relating to space and missile technology.

The move comes in the backdrop of the BrahMos case wherein a young scientist Nishant Agrawal, working as a systems engineer for BrahMos unit at Nagpur, was allegedly targeted by such traps run by Pakistan's ISI. Agrawal was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad on Monday on charges of spying.

The probe so far by the agencies has revealed that he was in touch with two women with Indian names through their pseudo Facebook accounts operated from Bahria Town of Islamabad.

"Aesthetically appealing Pakistani and Chinese women are being used by the foreign agencies to trap officers of the defence establishments, including scientific institutions of advanced research in the domains of space and missile technology. The alert has been issued to sensitise the officials in the concerned departments remain aware of the risks posed by the social media," a senior Intelligence Bureau official said.

Intelligence agencies from the adversarial countries are using trained women to trap officials here. The women are often given language training in English, Urdu and Hindi with Punjabi accent to deceit the trapped officials. The social media accounts often carry Indian names and they lure the target officers through sex chats and subsequently seek their mobile numbers. A number of Chinese-made smart phones often have spywares which are suspected to transmit data to servers located in China and Pakistan, the official said.

Official data suggests 13 serving and retired defence personnel have been arrested on charges of espionage for ISI during the last four years.

The probe by the agencies here has revealed that women working at the behest of the foreign agencies often strike friendship through social media platforms like Facebook. After exchanging numbers, they extract sensitive information from the trapped officials in lieu of sex chats on WhatsApp.

The Delhi police had arrested senior Indian Air Force officer Group Captain Arun Marwah, 51, in February this for espionage and official secrets Act after being trapped by the ISI through a honey trap module.

Likewise, in December 2015, the Delhi police arrested Ranjith, an IAF official for allegedly sharing secret documents with ISI operatives through social media.