Social media and the internet in today’s society have become a blessing and curse. For military families it is a great way to stay connected with your loved one no matter where they are in the world, BUT it also imposes many security risks.  

Operation Security (OPSEC) measures are not something to take lightly these day and when not practiced mindfully you could put your service member in harms way, but also your family as whole. Today’s enemy is full of skillful cyber hackers and terrorist that are just watching and waiting for important information to be shared.  Just as important as OPSEC is Personal Security (PERSEC)

  What is OPSEC?  

 The U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity defines OPSEC as the process by which we protect unclassified information that can be used against us. OPSEC challenges us to look at ourselves through the eyes of an adversary (individuals, groups, countries, organizations). Essentially, anyone who can harm people, resources, or mission is an adversary. 

   DODea OPSEC Resources

What is PERSEC?

PERSEC is process of keeping you and your families personal information secured.

Military.com: Three Everyday Easy PERSEC Rules

10 Tips for Mindful OPSEC & PERSEC Practices  

  • NEVER share the 5 W’s of troop movement  
  • Do not announce that your loved one deployed  

Although it is safer to post “Sad my hubby deployed” than “Sad my hubby deployed yesterday”, ask yourself this “Do I really want a stranger to know that I will be home alone (with my kids) for a LONG period of time?” 

  • Do not post specifics about unit deployment locations  
  • Do not share specifics about unit names  
  • Avoid sharing pictures that show your service member’s name and insignia  
  • Avoid engaging with geo-tracking accessories like “checking in” on Facebook 
  • Avoid posting subtle remarks about your spouses’s duty or mission while deployed.

 “Prayers please, my husband is out on a mission tonight.” 

  • Keep your countdown clocks private. Avoid sharing pictures of your in home and digital countdown clocks.  
  • Avoid sharing the service member’s job specifics or role during a deployment  

Every now and then you will see news articles around specific units while deployed. Some articles share sad information for families and others share positive information around the unit’s accomplishments and strengths. Sometimes it’s best to think twice about sharing how the article is relevant to your service member. Keep in mind that some information vetting procedures don’t go smoothly. There have been many situations where loved ones have found out unfortunate news about their service member via news article.  

  •  Do not share specifics about you.

Keep your personal information on a need to know basis. Avoid sharing person contact information and locations on social media 

Resources & Tips for “Locking Down” Your Social Media Accounts

Facebook 

TIME: Make Your Facebook Profile More Private in 6 Easy Steps 

Report suspicious profiles and behavior to Facebook Report Center 

Blue Star Families, USAA and Facebook’s Guide for Military Families  

Facebook Safety Resources 

Twitter 

Lifewife 5 Tips for Staying Safe on Twitter

Twitter Help Center 

Instagram 

Heimdal Security: The Essential Guide to Secure Your Instagram Account [Updated]  

 Instagram Privacy & Saftey Center 

Snapchat  

SnapChat Support Center Privacy Settings  

Secure Your Snapchat Account In Just 5 Steps

LinkedIn

Social Media Examiner: How To Make Sure Your LinkedIn Profile Is Secure

LinkedIn Security and Privacy- Best Practices

Additional Resources:  

How To Make Your Social Media Accounts As Private As Possible

Military Connection: Are Fitness Apps Compromising The Military?

Resources by Branch of Service 

United States Marine Corps 

Marine Corps Personal Reference Guide For Marines

Marine Corps Social Media Handbook published under General Dunford

United States Army 

United States Army Social Media Overview  

United States Army Social Media Resources  

Unites States Army Social Media Handbook 2016

United States Coast Guard  

Coast Guard Social Media Handbook 2015

United States Navy 

Fleet Social Media Guidance and Online Conduct 

 United States Air Force 

New Media and The Air Force

Air Force Social Media