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Army intelligence document warns of ISIS threat to military families using social media

Posted at 12:10 AM, Oct 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-10 00:10:26-04

According to a special assessment by The Army Threat Integration Center (ARTIC) ISIS is calling on its followers already in the United States to use the yellow pages and social media sites to find addresses of service members, go to their homes and slaughter them. This concern, it says, stems from a law enforcement bulletin citing a jihadist tweet.

The document, which is labeled “Unclassified/ For Official Use Only,” cites Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter as resources for the terrorists to use.

It's a frightening threat that has the DOD and military officials in Hampton Roads warning troops and their families to think before they post.

“There`s kind of an inherent risk to being a service member and fair or not, different people, whether it be interest groups or terrorist organizations are going to take shots at you,” says Captain Kevin Whitlatch, chief of public affairs for Joint Base Langley-Eustis. “The threats to my knowledge that were made to service members in this country, I cannot confirm that they are ISIS related. They were reported to me as anonymous sources and none of those have occurred here in Hampton Roads.”

ARTIC issued the special assessment last month. Since then, Facebook pages for the Navy, Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk and Langley-Eustis all posted reminders to troops to safeguard online information.

“We`ve been dealing with terrorist threats of all shapes and sizes for over a decade now,” Capt Whitlatch says. “We`ve been involved globally for different terrorist organizations for over a decade now so safeguarding our practices and practicing good operational security as well as being vigilant as well at home station has always been a priority and will continue to be a priority for all of our service members and their families.”

Captain Whitlatch says there are no credible threats for the Hampton Roads area. An Army Pentagon spokesman has been reported saying that there has not been any changes to security procedures at bases because of this threat.

These are the following tips the Department of Defense has listed to protect online data:

  • Be cautious when accepting friend requests and interacting with people online. You should never accept a friend request from someone you do not know, even if they know a friend of yours.
  • Don’t share information you don’t want to become public. Remember, once you put something out there, you can’t control where it goes.
  • Disable location-based social networking, or geotagging, on all social media platforms. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, video, websites and text messages.
  • Avoid posting work or personal schedules and travel itineraries, especially deployment information and return dates for yourself, a loved one or a unit.
  • If you ever hesitate before clicking ‘post’, reconsider the content you are about to share. Our team follows the motto: When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Adjust your privacy settings to ensure your posts and profile information is secured and seen only by approved audiences. This last tip applies to any social media platforms you may use, but since Facebook is the most widely used, we want to share this detailed how-to guide on how to secure your profile.