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News | Dec. 11, 2014

CID Lookout: How to Protect Your Identity Online

As a result of recent world events and a continual effort to protect the force, special agents
with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU)
are strongly recommending that anyone affiliated with the U.S. military, review their social media
accounts to make sure they are using the best security settings to protect their online

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are powerful tools that can
help bring communities together. However, an individual’s online profile can provide cyber
criminals with an endless pool of personal information and potential targets to be exploited.
As such, it is vital that individuals stay on the alert and be personally responsible for their
online presence to protect themselves, their loved ones and the Army.

With that in mind, CID is providing the following information to help the greater Army
community protect themselves online and significantly reduce the chance of becoming a
victim of cybercrime.

Social Networking Safety Tips:
The internet does not forget. Once something is posted on a social networking
website it can spread quickly, and no amount of effort can delete it. Do not post
anything you would be embarrassed to see on the evening news.
You are not anonymous. Cyber criminals have the capability to gather and exploit
both individuals and organizations if the information is out there.
More isn’t always better. Participating in multiple social networking sites
significantly increases ones risk and affords cyber criminal alternate avenues to
strike and gather information.

Know the terms on social networking websites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and
other social networking sites frequently change their privacy and user policies.
Social Networking sites privacy settings default to everyone. This means anyone,
can view your profile, not just the people you know. Securely configuring ones
account will minimize who can see your information.
Safe social networking. Never disclose private information when using social
networking websites. Be very selective who you invite or accept invitations from as
criminals often use false or spoofed profiles to gain access to personal and private
information, such as birthdates, marital status, and photographs. Social media posts
that contain personal identifying information (PII), digital photos that contain
metadata (i.e., information written into the digital photo file such as who owns it,
contact information, location, and internet search terms) can be used against you
and your family.
Click with caution. Always use caution when clicking on links in social networking
posts, even from someone you know. Reports of personal social networking
accounts being hacked by criminals have increased in recent years. Clicking on a
link that appears to be benign in nature may in fact contain embedded malware that
can compromise your device. Once compromised, any data on your device can be
Hide your profile from search engines. This can be accomplished by going to the
social networking site account settings and unchecking the “Public Search Results”
box. This will remove your public preview from Google, Bing, and Yahoo search
Check-out and tag-out. Do not use check-ins or post your specific location on
social media. Also, prevent people from “tagging” you in photos and videos.
Login No No’s. Do not use your social networking site to login to other sites or use
the save password, remember me, and keep me logged in options from a public or
shared device. Use strong, unique passwords and never use the same password
for all online accounts.
Install/Update your anti-virus/firewall software. Antivirus and firewall software is
a must for anyone to safely navigate online. Always keep your security software up
to date in order to provide the most complete protection from malicious programs as
thousands of new viruses are detected every year. Also, ensure your antivirus
software program updates automatically and scans your computer on a recurring

As a service to the U.S. Army and DoD communities, CCIU has produced comprehensive
how-to guides to safely configure an individual’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Configuration guides for other social networking platforms will be available in the near
future. To download the guide visit and select
the respective guide at the bottom of page one.

Additional information about computer safety and cyber related crimes can be found on the
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s CCIU webpage at Simply select the Cyber Crimes Advisories on the left
side of the page to review previous cyber crime alert notices and prevention flyers.

CID strongly recommends that Soldiers, civilians and family members who have
information of any known crime committed by a Soldier, a crime that occurred on their
respective post, camp or station, or is a victim of a crime to contact their local CID office,
dial 1-844-ARMY-CID (844-276-9243) or email CID at