by Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Fraudsters continue to hijack accounts on social networking sites and spread malicious software, FBI officials said. One technique entices users to download an application or view a video that appears to be sent from users’ “friends,” giving the perception of being legitimate. Once the user responds to the phishing site, downloads the application, or clicks on the video link, their computer becomes infected.
With the influx of social media, Web 2.0 platforms and subsequent ease in sharing of sensitive and personally identifying information, Airmen should consider the risks and vulnerabilities in both personal and official activities, Air Force officials said.
Airmen using non-classified systems must ensure they are not posting classified, restricted distribution, proprietary or For Official Use Only information on public websites to include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blog sites, etc.
“We’re starting to see a loss of sensitive information occurring at an alarming rate,” said Ryan McCausland, from the information protection directorate. “This information not only affects the user, but can impact millions of Americans through medical, payroll and military service records.”
Mr. McCausland explained that release of personally identifiable information is also a concern. This includes any information about an individual maintained by an agency, including, but not limited to, education, financial transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history. It also includes information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, such as their name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, biometric records, etc., and any other personal information which can be linked or linkable to an individual.
The release of personally identifiable information also applies to information about active-duty military, Department of Defense civilians, military family members, contractors, National Guard and the Reserve members. Among the restricted items are biographies, rosters, telephone directories, detailed organizational lists or charts that reflect personnel and multiple names of individuals from different organizations or locations on the same document or web page.
Unclassified but sensitive information such as detailed mission statements, operations schedules, unit recall rosters, standing operating procedures and policy memorandums require special handling and should also not be posted on public websites, Mr. McCausland said.
“The care and discretion of every Airman is critical to ensuring operational security in today’s information age,” Mr. McCausland said. “We must all continually safeguard our personal information as well as the information we handle in the workplace.”