By Amy Newcomb, Fort Campbell CourierApril 17, 2015
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- A hit list of 100 U.S. military personnel, allegedly created by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham terrorist organization, was published last month by an ISIS-support group calling themselves the "Islamic State Hacking Division." The list included names, photos and addresses of service members the organization claims was hacked from military servers, databases and social media.
While the FBI has not deemed the list a credible threat, the ISIS-generated list came as no surprise to Bill Fedak, Fort Campbell installation antiterrorism officer. He said the organization threatened "lone wolf" attacks late last year.
A senior ISIS leader told followers to use IEDs, targeting military personnel and their Families through social media to identify their residences with intentions to attack where they are most vulnerable -- in their homes.
"Service members and Army civilian employees should understand that unintentional disclosure of critical information and [personally identifiable information] may pose a risk to them, their Family and the [Department of Defense] mission," Fedak said.
Social media users must adjust the privacy settings in the social media platforms they use, but as a precaution, they should also know what should and should not be posted, said Fedak.
"Information such as unit movements, deployments, personnel rosters, weapons information or other command critical information should never be posted online," he said.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow information to be viewed by the public, but social media users can implement Internet safeguards to limit who can see profile information, photos and not allow phones to geotag photos.
"It is especially important for our service members and their Families because we don't want to mistakenly give away any information that may indicate if we are alone, where we are located and more," said Nondice Thurman, Fort Campbell public affairs specialist. "For those of us with military ties, unknowingly providing someone with information could cause serious issues not just for ourselves, but for other service members and their Families too."
Besides implementing individual social media security measures, service members and their Families should keep their guards up against terrorism in general, Fedak said.
If service members or their Families visit a site where members suggest, or begin to suggest, the use of violence and base discontent in political or religious ideologies -- it spells trouble, Fedak added.
Other social media issues could come in the form of friend requests from strangers who recently opened an account or a web page that experiences an increase in followers from regions who have no ties to the page content.
"Always keep an eye on anything that seems unusual or out of place," Thurman said.
"Sometimes it may not seem like much, but if it doesn't seem right to you, the safest thing to do is to report it and you may just find that your initial reaction was correct."
Other areas of concern include posting your location on social media sites. "Really consider if you want to 'check-in' to a location on social media," Thurman said. "Do you want to let someone know you are away from home? Do you want them to know where you are located?"
In the past, Fort Campbell units have been asked to remove content due to administrators not remaining vigilant and allowing information into a social media platform that should have remained private, Thurman said.
If called into question, the chain of command could also become involved with a service member's personal social media if reported by a third party.
"Sometimes this is due to content they feel is inappropriate for a service member to post and other times it is because they feel they are being harassed by a service member," Thurman said. "We've had individuals post on our social media pages or send us direct messages that due to the content had to be reported and the reports have made it all the way to the Secret Service."
Imminent threats picked up on personal or group social media websites should be reported to the following: Fort Campbell's 902nd Counterintelligence Field Office at (931) 251-0447; Military Police Desk at (270) 798-7111/2/3; Clarksville Regional FBI office at (931) 552-1018; Oak Grove Police Department at (270) 439-4602; Hopkinsville Police Department at (270) 890-1500; Clarksville Police Department at (931) 645-7480. For information on suspicious activity reporting, visit dhs.gov/how-do-i/report-suspicious-activity.
"Be mindful. Always take a moment to think about what you are portraying online," Thurman said. "Use guidelines like those we have posted on our social media sites to help you limit what others see and to help increase your online security."
For tips on privacy settings and the do's and don'ts of social media, go to the U.S. Army Fort Campbell Facebook page where "Smart Cards" have been posted that cover Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google.
When using social media:
• Always assume everyone in the world can see what you post/tweet, even if the site limits posts to your friends and Family.
• Limit who can view your social media sites, but never trust these settings as absolute.
• Do not post your home/work address or phone numbers.
• Do not post any government or military affiliation.
• Do not provide detailed accounts of your day, such as when you leave for or return from work.
• Never allow smartphone applications to geo-locate you.
• Protect critical information such as TDY/travel itineraries; job title, location, salary, grade and clearances; operational, security and logistical data; mission capabilities or limitations; names and photos of you or your Family.