OPSEC, Student: What needs to be known

By Cynthia Flores-Wilkin, Installation OPSEC Program managerAugust 17, 2023

OPSEC, Student: What needs to be known
OPSEC, Student: What needs to be known (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colo. — With today’s social media platforms and the volume of information shared across the internet on an individual’s daily activity or status, the risk increases for unauthorized individuals to gain access of people’s personnel or private data.

It is extremely important for students to become aware when posting personal photos on social media, as possible vulnerabilities exist for becoming an attractive target to someone who may want your information.

The OPSEC Cycle will help identify threats and vulnerabilities. Understanding the cycle and the benefit of the process is the first step in making OPSEC principles second nature, creating an OPSEC mindset.

Steps of the OPSEC cycle.

1.      Analyze Threat. A threat is an adversary who has the intent and capability to compromise your mission or sensitive activities.

2.      Identify Critical Information. It’s the specific facts about friendly intentions, capabilities and activities that an adversary can use against us.

3.       Analyze Vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities are weaknesses that an adversary uses to obtain critical information.

4.      Assess Risk. Risk is the likelihood that an adversary will get your critical information.

5.      Apply Countermeasures. Countermeasures reduce the likelihood that critical information will be lost.

If students learn about OPSEC, it can help them identify what information to protect, when to protect it, and how to protect it. It can help them define the value of private or personal information and begin to think from both friendly and adversarial perspectives. When OPSEC is learned and practiced, students can develop a culture that passes amongst friends and family, so others can empower themselves by gaining a security mindset of being vigilant. When a student learns vigilance, they become more cautious and skeptical, and this awareness helps safeguard personal information.

Be aware of your surroundings, even online. Remember, any information that is shared online is virtually visible and can be a vulnerability for you or your family.

Don’t compromise security … keep you, your friends and family safe by safeguarding personal information.