In the good ol' days of spy vs. spy, the honeypot was a tried and true method espionage technique, laced with danger, intrigue, and sex. These days—as Australian soldiers have found out the hard way—all it takes to seduce your way to state secrets is a Facebook friend request and a Google image search for "hot chicks."
As Australian news site News.com.au reports, a recent Aussie government look at the unhealthy intermingling of social media and the military, several of its soldiers have fallen victim to the oldest trick in the Facebook; someone pretending to be an attractive, flirtatious girl when in reality they're not. Except instead of spammers, they get enemies of the state:
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."
Why is that a problem, other than terrorists having access to your karaoke pics? Because soldier status updates can often include the kind of seemingly innocuous information that ends up giving away locations, statuses, and other sensitive details that could get people killed.
The report goes on to say that soldiers have been too trusting of Facebook's default privacy settings, something which we've all fallen victim to at one point or another. Its just that the stakes for us normals aren't anywhere near as high. But what's the solution? Either to ban social media for troops altogether—as some have argued in favor of—or to insist on stricter guidelines and, especially, enforcement. Let's hope the latter proves effective. It's hard enough serving your country in a far-flung land without feeling even more cut off from the world than geography dictates. [News.com.au via Danger Room]