Taliban Creating Fake Facebook Profiles to Spy on Soldiers

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The Sunday Telegraph's Anthony Deceglie and Katie Robertson report that Taliban insurgents are posing as attractive women on Facebook in order to gather intelligence from coalition soldiers.

"According to a recent Australian review of the military and its use of social media, not only are soldiers being seduced into giving away information on missions, but the friends and family of soldiers may also be jeopardizing missions by being too free with sharing what they know," writes ZDNet's Charlie Osborne. "The defense report surveyed 1,577 military personnel, and found that 58 percent have been given no social media training."

"The review found an 'overt reliance' on privacy settings had led to 'a false sense of security' among personnel," Deceglie and Robertson write. "The review warns troops to beware of 'fake profiles - media personnel and enemies create fake profiles to gather information. For example, the Taliban have used pictures of attractive women as the front of their Facebook profiles and have befriended soldiers.'"

"For the Taliban, creating the fake profile is easy," writes WebProNews' Josh Wolford. "A quick Google image search for 'pretty girl' and a few minutes signing up on Facebook and they’re in. All that has to be done is to send out a bunch of friend requests and hope at least a couple bite. Of course, it’s easy to see why being Facebook friends with the enemy can be dangerous. Not only does it allow access to confidential information that could jeopardize operations coming from the solider his/her self, but also private info from friends and family members of the soldiers."

"The U.S. Army learned about insurgents' social media tactics the hard way in 2007, when soldiers in Iraq uploaded photos of Apache gunship helicopters -- photos that included embedded GPS data," writes Wired's David Axe. "'The enemy was able to determine the exact location of the helicopters inside the compound and conduct a mortar attack, destroying four of the AH-64 Apaches,' the Army admitted this year."