“Counting down the days until my husband comes home from Afghanistan <3 Can’t wait until June 15!”
If military spouse posted a sentence like this one on social media, they would have just violated military operations security (OPSEC).
Thanks to social media, knowledge can travel across the globe with a single mouse click. Unfortunately, this means an innocuous Facebook update can be read by dangerous individuals and twisted to their advantage.
To maintain OPSEC, every military branch has a special set of guidelines for military spouses and children to remember when engaging on social media. Here are some simple OPSEC do’s and don’ts to protect yourself and your loved ones.
…post specific information about a service member’s deployment. This includes their location, deployment dates and unit. The less concrete information available to enemies online, the better.
…publicly ask for friends and family to pray for your loved one online. You’re basically letting the Internet know a service member is going into a dangerous situation. This could tip off militants that a fight is coming their way.
…put geotags on pictures or statuses, especially if they include a service member. Geotags emblazon your photos and statuses with your exact location. Failure to turn off this feature could leave a digital trail exposing you and your family’s whereabouts.
…count down or up to a loved one’s next troop movement. It might be exciting when a service member you love and miss is finally going home, or nerve wracking if they preparing to leave. But counting up or down to that moment makes it easy to predict when and where American troops will move next.
…update your passwords and social media privacy settings. Popular social media platforms are adjusting their privacy settings all the time. Make sure you’ve got your profile on lockdown.
…edit or delete photos that might reveal too much information. Blur and crop images that reveal the names or ranks of uniformed service members. In some cases, getting rid of the picture entirely might be the best option.
…think before you post. The internet is forever. Just because you delete a photo doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Another user might have screenshotted your deleted image and posted it elsewhere. The best way to keep sensitive information secure is to never post it in the first place.
…connect with other military spouses, families and kids online. The military community is here to support and help military families and spouses. Don’t be afraid to join a Facebook group
Got any more tips? Leave ’em in the comments.