In an interesting twist of events, Taliban insurgents have resolved to social media as a tool against their enemies. These witty renegades are posing as pretty women on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s site, and duping Australian troops to hand in crucial information about priority operations.
This revelation came after a federal government review that focused on defense and social media. One of the main highlights of the review was that 58 percent of 1577 defense members surveyed were not adequately trained on social media. This perhaps explained why many soldiers were not aware of the ‘fake’ sense of security created by the so-called privacy settings.
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At the wake of the report, Australian troops have been urged to observe a lot of care in social networks. This is especially so with regard to geo-tagging, a popular social media function that notes the location from which an image has been uploaded or post made.
Other highlights reveal that apart from the threat posed by fake profiles on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and other social sites, soldier’s family and friends also play an instrumental role in compromising positive progress. The report notes that family and friends may be bottlenecking operations by openly sharing what they know on social media.
Apart from the worry of Taliban insurgents posing as beautiful women, soldiers have also been warned to take care of media personnel. In the hopes of getting stories, some media personnel are also creating fake profiles to source confidential information through what would otherwise seem to be friendly conversation.
This excerpt from the report underscores the inadequate training that some of the soldiers have in social media.
“Many individuals who use social media are extremely trusting. Most did not recognize that people using fake profiles, perhaps masquerading as school friends, could capture information and movements. Few consider the possibilities of data mining and how patterns of behavior can be identified over time.”
Just from going through the excerpt, it becomes clearly evident that some soldiers are not aware that hackers can access websites from the back end. They don’t understand that someone on the other end of the world could be seated behind a computer studying communication patterns and pegging down on actual physical locations.
This report will not be taken lightly. In fact, the Department of Defense intends to release new social media guidelines by the fall of this year.
The risks posed by social media to the military are not mere hearsay. Back in 2007, the risk of inadequate social media training reared its ugly head after six Apache gunship helicopters were destroyed in a mortar attack. This attack came after soldiers in Iraq uploaded the images on social media, unknowingly disclosing embedded GPS data in the images.