Monday, July 19, 2010

Navy sets up "femme fatale" on Facebook to test threat of id theft in classified operations

The Washington Times, on the front page Monday July 19, reports a caper where the US Navy Network Warfare Command set up a fake Facebook profile with a fake female person, to tempt other people with sensitive jobs to give away classified and personal information. The story by Shaun Waterman is titled “Fictitious femme fatale fooled cybersecurity; Intel, defense specialists fell for ruse in test”, link (website url)  here.

People did give away classified information embedded in innocent material, but more disturbing to officials was the way some people gave away their own personal information and that of family members. For people in defense-sensitive jobs, this seems like a particularly sensitive issue, as identity theft could be a particular problem in intelligence operations.

Amateur novelists could have fun with this one. It’s even possible to imagine identities being “contracted”.

I worked for two Naval agencies early in my career, at David Taylor Model Basin and later at Naval Command Systems Support Activity at the Washington Navy Yard. Something like this could have been tested there.

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