Q: With all the recent hacks, and ISIS threats to the military I am uber concerned for my family. I have thought about shutting down all of my social media accounts, but it is so convenient to stay connected with family and friends back home- and they all think I am being over paranoid. I just want to make sure my family is safe. What’s the right thing to do, and am I being paranoid?
A: Your concerns are completely understandable. Certainly the tragedy in France, the recent hacking of U.S. Central Command’s Twitter account, and the direct threats to service members and families give us all pause. You are not being paranoid, you have some legitimate concerns and they do need to be addressed in order to maintain your peace of mind. That doesn’t mean that you have to take extreme measures in order to feel like you and your family are safe. Do you spend a lot of time on social media? Is it an important part of your life? Do the connections there make your life better? How likely are you to be targeted by people who are out to do you or your family harm? These are questions that you need to ask yourself. The reality is that odds are few that your family would be victimized. If your life on social media is important to you then instead of forgoing your life online you should instead look for ways to minimize the risk to you and yours.
So how do you minimize the risk? Most of our social media accounts have security settings that will help with this. You can hide where you are from, you can avoid posting anything that directly connects you to the military – like putting privacy settings on photos of you and your family with your service member. If you take the time and the steps necessary you will find that you can be safe and continue to enjoy a life that includes your connections on social media. In the end this is about YOUR family and YOUR safety. Do what YOU feel is best for YOU.
Wishing you good health,
Given recent events, ARTIC assessment and the Pentagon have provided the following guidance for service members and their families – Remember OPSEC and PERSEC:
• DoD personnel are reminded to use operational security (OPSEC) at work and at home. Be cautious of conversations while in a public forum either on cell phone or in person.
• Don’t display DoD affiliated credentials (CAC/Building passes/military ID) when in public.
• Remove all DoD, military, or law enforcement decals or identifiers from clothing and vehicles. This includes military pride decals.
• Vary travel routes to and from work.
• If you see something, say something…report suspicious activity. Report immediate threats to physical safety to 911 and suspicious activities to police non-emergency numbers.
• Maintain situational awareness or avoid public venues where large groups of people congregate.
• Educate family members on basic security practices (i.e. lock all points of entry, don’t leave keys hidden outside the home, keep doors locked even when at home, etc.). Do not display anything that could identify the occupants as being affiliated with the military or law enforcement.
• Be careful of information shared on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc…)
• Update security settings on social media accounts and change passwords regularly.
• Do not post anything on social media sites that affiliates the account holder with DoD/the military or law enforcement.
• Do not post anything on social media opposing terrorist groups or organizations.
• Wear civilian clothes when traveling to and from work, and if wearing uniform is necessary, reduce the number of stops to the essential.
Anyone who notices suspicious activity, or has any information regarding terror activities on U.S. soil is urged to contact the FBI at 1-800-225-5324 or online at tips.fbi.gov.