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News | Sept. 30, 2013

CID Lookout: Protecting Your Online Identity

 Now more than ever, Soldiers, Armyvcivilians, and family members rely on the Internet to work,
study, stay connected with family and friends, pay their bills or simply unwind. For criminals, the
Internet provides anendless stream of potential targets to be victimized.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, continually
receives various reports ranging from identity theft to Internet scams, perpetrated by cyber
criminals operating throughout the world. Law enforcement’s ability to identify these
perpetrators is difficult and limited, so individuals must stay on the alert and be personally
responsible for their online presence to protect both themselves and their loved ones.

As such, 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
cyber crime.

How to protect yourself:
 Know the terms on social networking websites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and
other social networking sites privacy settings default to everyone. This means
anyone, can view your profile, not just people you know. Users can and should
change this by accessing the Privacy Settings/Profile Information usually found
under the respective Account tab.

 Sample social networking safely. Never disclose private information when using
social networking websites. Be very selective about who you invite or accept
invitations from as cyber criminals use false profiles to gain access to personal and
private information, such as birthdates, marital status, and personal photographs.
Posts containing personal identifying information (PII), including pictures containing
metadata can be used against you and your family.

 Click with caution. Always use caution when clicking on links in an email or a
social networking post, even from someone you know. Reports of personal social
networking accounts being hacked and taken over 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 computer. Once
compromised, the data on your computer can be exploited and even your computer
can be remotely operated as a surrogate in online attacks against others.

 Hide your profile from search engines. This can be accomplished by going to the
Account/Privacy Settings/ Search and unchecking the “Public Search Results” box.
This will remove your public preview from Google, Bing, and Yahoo search returns.

 Prevent people from “tagging” you in photos and videos. To do this, go to the
Account/Privacy Settings/Profile Information/Photos and Videos of Me and deselect
the everyone default.

 Keep your personal information safe. Don’t provide personal or financial
information, user names, or passwords in response to an email, because legitimate
companies generally don’t seek such information in this manner.

 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

 Free antivirus support from ACERT. Current Department of Defense employees
(excluding contractors, retirees, and family members) with an active AKO account
can download antivirus software for free by logging in to the United States Army
Computer Emergency Response Team website and selecting the Antivirus link.


 Know your Apps. When signing up with an app store or downloading individual
apps, you may be asked for permission to let them access information on your
device. Some apps may be able to access your phone and email contacts, call logs,
Internet data, calendar data, data about the device’s location, the device’s unique
ID, and information about how you use the app itself. If you’re providing information
when you’re using the device, someone may be collecting it.

 Passwords protect all devices. The time to safeguard the information on your
portable electronic device is not after it has been lost or stolen. Ensure all portable
electronic devices are properly password protected, especially any device with
personal communications account information (email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,

 “Brick” a stolen device. In recent years, roughly 40% of all robberies now involve
smart phones and/or tablet computers (iPad, Kindle Fire, etc.). Thus endangering
the security of the personal information on the stolen devices. If a person’s smart
phone is lost or stolen, they may now contact the carrier and ask to have that device
remotely disabled. These “Bricked” phones are of little or no use to thieves
because they can’t be reactivated after being sold on the black market.

Where to go for help:
If you are a victim of an online scam where the likeness of a U.S. Soldier was utilized
(false social media/dating profiles, photographs, etc.) with no further Personally
Identifiable Information disclosed, the following actions should be completed as soon as
possible to assist law enforcement:

Report the theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (FBI-NW3C
Partnership). Online:

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, you should report the crime to the FBI IC3,
as well as report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law
enforcement officials across the United States in their investigations.
By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580

CID strongly recommends that Soldiers, civilians and family members who have
information of any known crime committed by a Soldier or a crime that occurred on their
respective post, camp or station to report the incident to their local CID office or email CID