DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Two of the world’s largest intelligence agencies have a new security warning.

The FBI and UK’s MI5 are warning of new threats from the Chinese government. They believe China is targeting local businesses and municipalities to help influence policy in the U.S.

Shawn Waldman is the executive director of Secure Cyber Defense in the Dayton area.

“This is not people coming after your bank accounts and stealing your family photos and ransomware. This is espionage,” Waldman said.

Following a joint appearance on Wednesday, the two intelligence agencies talked about ways China is trying to gain that information. Waldman said Dayton is a prime location because of its proximity to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. He also said these spies can find you online.

“They’re looking for engagement. They’re looking for somebody to reply back so that they can socially engineer you and they can try and coerce you to do certain things,” Waldman said.

Waldman hopes more people will be aware of this threat and remain cautious.

“You have be aware of what’s going on around you. You have to be aware of where you work and what you do and what you have access to, because you could be a very, very large target and somebody could be looking to influence you in order to gain access and continue getting more access down the road,” Waldman said.

Congressman Mike Turner released this exclusive statement to 2 NEWS:

“I applaud the efforts of the FBI to raise concerns about the continued counterintelligence and cyber threats directed by the Chinese government. Working with strategic partners, like the United Kingdom, is vital to defend against the continued theft of research and intelligence property to build Chinese military and intelligence capabilities. After the Biden Administration terminated the China Initiative, an effort to identify and prosecute acts of Chinese government-sponsored economic espionage, it is essential that this Administration is clear to U.S. entities, our strategic partners, and the international community that China remains a top adversary.”

Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio)