Updated: 12/09/12 : 07:13:33Printable Version
Taliban fighters are posing as "attractive women" on Facebook to lure soldiers into giving intelligence about their operations, according to reports.
Australian soldiers are being warned not to be enticed by fake social media profiles before they are deployed to Afghanistan, according to a federal government review of social media and defence.
Geo-tagging, which secretly logs the location from where a post is made or photo uploaded, is a significant hazard, says the review, reported by Australia's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
It warns family and friends of soldiers that they may unwittingly threaten missions by sharing confidential information like names, ranks and locations online.
The review said: "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 soliders."
Many of those surveyed for the review had no awareness of the risk while nearly 60% of defence staff had no social media training. It said many who use social media are too trusting.
It warned: "Most did not recognise that people using fake profiles, perhaps masquerading as school friends, could capture information and movements.
"Few consider the possibilities of data mining and how patterns of behaviour can be identified over time."
The newspaper reported that several troops wanted a total social media ban as soldiers often post pictures and information about themselves which identify what unit they belong to and where they are serving.
New social medial guidelines are to be released by the Australian government by Christmas, says the newspaper.