Staying in touch with massive amounts of people on a daily and even hourly basis — sometimes discussing the most intimate particulars — has become a reality because of the rapid advancements in communication technology, namely social media.
E-mail, Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook and chat rooms have revolutionized the way we communicate with loved ones, friends, relatives and even strangers.
While there are many outstanding advantages to social media, there are also some drawbacks.
Providing your loved ones with constant updates on your events and activities can be comforting and entertaining, but sharing information with a select group of individuals doesn’t mean that the information can’t be exploited by unscrupulous people.
Last month, Union Leader Correspondent Kimberly Houghton reported on three individuals who were arrested on charges that they burglarized at least 18 homes in Nashua, N.H.
Houghton reported that authorities continue to warn citizens about the dangers of posting their whereabouts on social networking sites such as Facebook, as the three men arrested viewed these sites and targeted their burglaries accordingly.
By providing personal details on who you are, your location and what you are doing, you could be making yourself a target, and eventually a victim.
Another problem inherent with providing the finer details of your personal life in a public forum hits closer to home when the information being posted has a military connection and can be used by our enemies.
Many military families use social media to keep in touch with their deployed family members. Sharing information can provide a great sense of comfort and connectivity on a daily basis, in spite of the geographic separation.
However, posting and sharing exact dates of the service members’ activities and camp locations can create a threat to the well-being of troops and their missions.
Our military foes continuously collect information to track our military movements in an attempt to develop an operating picture. Additionally, there are many skilled spies and terrorists who will pose as good guys attempting to pull out even more details from you online.
Be alert and practice good personal security by not providing detailed disclosure of personal information online and through social media outlets.
For more information on protecting your personal information, visit the U.S. Strategic Command Joint Information Operations Warfare Center’s Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/JIOWC.OPSEC.Support; or call the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Operational Security Manager at 431-2032/civ. 07031-15-2032.