Taliban put photos of ‘attractive women’ on Facebook for spying on soldiers, says report
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Taliban insurgents are posing as "attractive women" on Facebook to befriend coalition soldiers for gathering sensitive intelligence about operations in Afghanistan, an Australian government report has warned.
The dangers of social media have been pointed out in a federal government review of social media and defence, which was finalised in March but has not been acted upon, Defence sources said. The review found an "overt reliance" on privacy settings had led to "a false sense of security" among personnel.
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."
Australian soldiers are now being given pre-deployment briefings about enemies creating fake profiles to spy on troops.
Personnel are also being warned that geo-tagging, a function of many websites that secretly logs the location from where a post is made or a photo is uploaded, is a significant danger.
Family and friends of soldiers are inadvertently jeopardising missions by sharing confidential information online, Australia's Daily Telegraph reported.
Three Australian soldiers were this month murdered inside their base, allegedly by an Afghan Army trainee. Many of the 1577 Defence members surveyed for the review had no awareness of the risk, it said, adding 58 per cent of Defence staff had no social media training.
Surveyed troops said social media opens "a whole can of worms when it comes to operational, personnel and physical security". "Many individuals who use social media are extremely trusting," the review said.
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