The advancement in digital technology combined with unregulated data collection gives rise to the threat of making the homefront the military’s new front line.
FREMONT, CA: The American soldiers march off to war zones with the assurance that by fighting abroad, they will ensure the safety of their family at home. This has changed in the contemporary world, due to the digital technology advancements. The ability to target military families by leveraging their digital footprint substantially alters the risks for military service and potentially changes the face of the war. It was recently reported that military family members of soldiers stationed in Kuwait had received messages through social media that appeared to target the families of the 82nd Airborne Division. It was believed that a hacked internet service provider identified the family members at the forward location.
The larger a person’s digital footprint more the threat of their families being targeted. The Department of Defense is widely aware that the proliferation of devices designed to track personal preferences, movement, location, and social networks is reducing personal anonymity and increasing targeting opportunities. People face continuous contact with a heap of data collection tools like internet-connected speakers, electronic passes used for payment of transportation, cameras with facial recognition, home security systems, and phone applications that have the capability to track their lives—even simple vulnerabilities like being named on a new or social media stripes away personal anonymity away.
The military has banned some electronic devices and applications that might gather data, as well as educating service members of all the ranks on useful internet and social media practices. While this type of security measures are essential, individuals and families remain vulnerable to digital targeting, primarily because vigilance is not enough when associated with the military, which is particularly exposed to digital exploitation.
To begin with, the military should be aware of the attacks, which mostly occur outside their jurisdiction. This needs an expansion of its current suspicious activity reporting campaigns to include cyber incidents as well. Although geographic distance has been advantageous for the United States military to ensure the safety of their family with the transformation of the world to a digital world, no such luxuries are offered anymore.
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