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OPSEC and social networking services

  • Published
  • By Maj. Bryan LaPlant
  • 178 FW, Communications Flight
The use of social networking services like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace has grown tremendously in popularity over the recent years.

Recently, the DOD published directive guidance stating that access to these social networking services will* be allowed from government computers. Each military service is now working on its implementation rules.

Once the Air Force completes the guidance, the network blocks will be removed, and access will be allowed. The main intent of this decision is, of course, for official use. DOD will allow official organizations to have a presence on sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. These official presences will need to be coordinated with base public affairs to ensure the messages and information are correct and within Air Force standards.

The use of these services both at work and at home requires strong attention to operations security.

The ease and speed of information flow make it very easy to post too much or the wrong kind of information. Proper use of security settings on the Web sites is important, but there is no guarantee of security.

Pages can be hacked, settings can be changed and company security policies can change. Never post any information that you wouldn't be comfortable posting to any public venue. When posting information about work, always be conscious of what pieces of information you are revealing.

Remember that small pieces of unclassified information can quickly build into classified information. The majority of intelligence obtained and used by terrorist organizations comes from unclassified, public sources. Don't make things easy for them.

Online social media sites can be great information tools in both your personal and professional lives. Just don't make the mistake of forgetting your basic OPSEC principles.