co-authored by Dr. Stephen Bryen, Chairman & CTO Ziklag Systems/FortressFone Technologies
You don’t have to be brilliant to know that social media accounts are not private, even if you are told by their owners and operators that they are. Social sites, all of them, are easily hacked by outsiders, and even the companies that offer own them exploit them to make money. The monetization of privacy in the United States is highly advanced and represents a multibillion-dollar, unstoppable, business.
But people are starting to figure out that major danger is lurking.
For this reason, the French gendarmes and counter terrorism forces have been ordered to close any personal social media accounts they have and do so immediately.
You would have thought that America’s Central Command, which focuses on the Middle East and plays a vital role in dealing with radical Islamic terrorism, would recognize social media risks and would have, long ago, taken security measures to protect sensitive information. But that did not happen. In fact, CENTCOM (as it is known) has been merrily running Twitter and YouTube sites without any care.
So now we know that ISIS hacked CENTCOM and published the names and addresses of top officials including four star generals, making the information generally available to any operational terror cells including some who may be embedded in the United States. U.S. Cyber Command is only the tip of the iceberg. ISIS could have got all the information and passed it to terror organizations without defacing the CENTCOM twitter account and other CENTCOM-sponsored sites. In this way, Central Command would not know that critical information about their top personnel was in the hands of a vicious Islamic terror organization. But ISIS wanted to get the propaganda value out of its hack, so they made a lot of noise. No one knows how long they have been mucking about in CENTCOM’s operations.
The Pentagon says it was all a prank and is of no concern. With this mindset anyone hoping there was a chance that the Pentagon might try and fix a looming problem now knows better: they are the problem.
Is CENTCOM an exception? Hardly. Americans, despite countless articles pointing out obvious vulnerabilities in social networking and media sites, continue with their obsession to leak information that compromises personal and organizational security. It is a good bet that virtually every American military base, office, organization and unit is leaking away using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and all the others. So too, are folks at Homeland Security, the State Department, FBI and on and on.
The truth is we do not know just how much sensitive information is in the hands of terrorists, but if we have learned anything watching al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Iranians, the Syrian Electronic Army and all their brethren is that they…