ISIS Targeting US Military Members and their Families on Social Media

US spooks unearthed a cyber-espionage campaign on social media targeted on US military men, retired servicemen and their families by members of Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The FBI and Department of Homeland have warned all US servicemen to keep off social media or risk falling prey to the Syrian based extremist group.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have warned member of the US military to Keep Off social media following new intelligence report which reveals a ploy by the ISIS, an Islamic extremist group to attack US militants, Ex-military men and their families using information tapped from their social media sites.

In a joint statement with the DHS, the Feds warned that “Individuals overseas are spotting and assessing like-minded individuals who are willing and capable of conducting attacks against current and former U.S.-based members of the United States military.”

US military men and family members have been warned against posting incriminating information which could reveal their Location, Home Addresses or Telephone numbers. ISIS, has owned up to a number of cyber-attacks against foreign governments and other heinous acts in war torn Syria. The group is purportedly spying on American social media in an effort to locate members of the disciplinary forces and their families.

US spooks are yet to single out an attack on its military men or their families but all intelligence indicators shows that the threat is real and it is only a matter of when the first attack will happen. Previously, the ISIS has targeted military men and their families as a strategy of intimidating its real and perceived enemies out of war. Media reports shows that the ISIS used phone records and social media to send messages to Iraqi soldiers, threatening to slaughter their families unless they bowed out of the battle field, a factor that may have prompted Iraq to pull out war in summer.

ISIS has also been linked to an attack on Canadian soldiers in October, where the assailants killed two soldiers who were guarding a tomb and attacked the Canadian parliament. In US, ISIS sympathizers cyber-bullied an Air Force father and his son after they posted pictures of a bomb raid on social media. The October incidence prompted the Army to caution its services men to censor their communications on social media.

US military and government officials in defense departments and intelligence Agencies rely of encrypted devices for official communication. The US government spends billions on highly encrypted devices such BlackBerry and invest heavily on Human intelligence to protect its secrets. However, it is evident there still many loopholes which could be exploited by a techno savvy criminal group such as the ISIS to terrorize US service men and their families.

For years, internet users have downplayed the security threats posed by careless status updates or photo uploads. Security researchers have proved that a single uploaded on social media could tag along unintended compromising information such current GPS coordinates, device type and other private information, giving online criminals a crucial starting point. “If you post an image online, you post the data as well,” says Kelvin Ashton, one of the security researcher who proved how huge chunks of unencrypted information is floating online.

Lawrence Mwangi Lawrence is a technology and business reporter. He has freelanced for a number of tech sites and magazines. He is a web-enthusiast, with a special interest in Online security, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. When not writing about tech he can be found in a Tennis court or on a chess board.
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