I can’t tell if the Taliban’s strategy is diabolically genius or unabashedly desperate. I’m going with the latter after reports that Taliban soldiers have taken to disguising themselves as “attractive women” on social media sites like Facebook in order to trick military officials into adding them.
No, this isn’t an Onion article, this is the real deal. At least in Australia. The Sunday Telegraph reports that Taliban soldiers are disguising themselves as attractive women on Facebook in order to squeeze vital information out of Australian soldiers. We’re guessing that the strategy goes something like this: “Add, flirt, gain access to top secret military information, ???, PROFIT!” and that it was drafted in crayon.
Still, it has actually worked, reports Newser. An Aussie government review found that the Taliban had indeed fooled Australian soldiers online and that 1,577 members of the nation’s defense office didn’t know anything about it. Furthermore, 58% of its staff had not received any instruction in social media whatsoever.
“Most did not recognize that people using fake profiles, perhaps masquerading as school friends, could capture information and movements,” said the report, which also suggested the people, even soldiers, are far too trusting online.
It does make some sense – if soldiers take pictures of themselves at military installations or in the battlefield, put them on Facebook, tag their location, etc., they could pose real danger for themselves and their comrades, even if their profile is set to private. Furthermore, the report warns that there exists technology called “geo-tagging” with which an enemy can trace where photos were taken or uploaded from.
Some are calling for a total social media blackout. “I see too many members who post info/pics of themselves which identify … what unit they belong to and where they are serving,” said one soldier.
Hey, anything to keep the troops safe. Even if it does mean they’re digitally out of touch with their families for a bit.