MarineParents: Marine Family Network (MFN)

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With the recent proliferation of threats to America and Americans, I thought this would be a good time to discuss safety, also known as Operational Security, or “OPSEC”.

In October 2014 the Army Threat Intelligence Center issued a threat warning that extends to the families of our service members: http://www.marine-corps-news.com/2014/10/soldiers_families_and_home...

Simply put, OPSEC is keeping information, which an enemy may find useful to use against us, private.  Your Marine may convey information to you that is, in fact, classified and can put loved ones in danger.  But we may share this information because of our pride in our loved ones and think we can trust others to keep it quiet, not realizing the danger we would be putting everyone in.  Even small seemingly unimportant pieces of information may be a piece of a puzzle to our enemies, and yes, our enemies use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.  They are savvy users of social media!  Don’t believe that they are that capable?  Here is an article about a 2007 event:  http://www.marine-corps-news.com/2012/03/insurgents_destroyed_us_he...

Perhaps you recall the WWII admonition, “Loose lips sink ships.”  That still applies today, and the life you save may be your loved one.

Here at MFN we always practice OPSEC.  It starts with trained membership moderators reviewing every new member application.  While we review every application, we do not perform background checks;  neither does any social media.  We have well trained message board moderators who review every post/picture on every page; they edit or delete anything that violates OPSEC.  We are not trying to frustrate you; we are supporting you in your OPSEC efforts.

We have always asked that you not use your last name or any other specific identifying information. Think about it.  You don’t post a picture from your hotel with the comment “this is our home while we are away on vacation for the next week (burglars’ interpretation, my home is empty for you).  Likewise, we don’t want to invite our enemies to hurt us, or our loved ones either.

Social media, like Facebook - fun or frightening?  Well, it could be both.  Many of us are on Facebook.  There are even “Closed Groups” for friends of military units.  Closed Groups.  Now there is an interesting title.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CLOSED GROUP ONLINE!  The term “Closed Group” only provides you with a false sense of security.  It does not take much to be accepted into a “closed group”; merely a request and a story.  I know plenty of people who’ve made up a story and have been accepted into a group they have no reason to join.  I’m pretty sure a terrorist would have no problem lying about why they should be allowed into a group, too. When I look at some “Closed Groups” on Facebook, the first thing I see are pictures of members, their names and a link to their Facebook page which has their hometown and pictures of the loved ones they are so proud of.

The truth is, when we are online, we don’t really know who we are communicating with, or who else can see what we post.  Here is a video put out by the Naval OPSEC Support TEAM (NOST): 

PLEASE, remember that OPSEC is not something just for MFN.  OPSEC is your responsibility to your loved one and to your Country.  It needs to be a way of life, every day in every venue.  Lives depend upon it.

For more info please check out our page on OPSEC:  http://www.marineparents.com/deployment/opsec.asp and this well written blog:  http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/dear-taliban-just-tho...

OPSEC is NOT some game.  It is not to be circumvented nor to be taken lightly.  It is not just for when you are on MFN.  It must be a way of life for all of us now… 

Wherever you communicate, OPSEC and your responsibility does not change!

 

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Comment by 1~17smom (Julie) on October 10, 2014 at 4:56pm

Great video.  And thanks for the great set of reminders.

I've heard folks say, ". . . but if I cower before the bad guys and stop posting pictures of my son with his last name prominently displayed, I'm letting them win!" 

I heard a great response from bluedragon/Angie, one of our MFN members and active scheduled Chatters.   Loosely paraphrased:  "Don't live in fear, but you don't need to hand them a map to your house, do you?"

Excellent perspective.   Using last names, posting pictures with lots of identifying info (home town, last name, training schedules) is the equivalent of sending your name, address and phone number out and requesting a visit.  I spent three hours on Facebook not too long ago, laboriously reviewing every viewable piece of info on my page.  I thought I was careful, but oh look: there's a list of all my "Likes" (almost all military pages) - i hid that from any view but my own.  There's a lot of tagged photos linking me to many other military families - untag them.  Hid my Friends list, removed birthdates. Removed family relationships.  Kind of a bummer, yes, but the people I trust already know all that, and nobody else needs to.

Comment by 1~alex2toes(Dianne) on October 10, 2014 at 2:13pm

Great blog, love the video. It really proves the point doesn't it?

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