April 3, 2015

Button your lip! Loose talk can cost lives

Commentary by Dennis Morris
99th Air Base Wing Operations Security program manager

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — “Button your lip! Loose talk can cost lives,” was an operations security propaganda phrase used during World War II which still rings true today. It now goes beyond just buttoning your lips to include “zipping up” your social media sites.

Safe web-browsing practices and OPSEC awareness are the best mitigation strategies for protecting critical information on the net.

These days it’s easy to get information. Social networking sites, smart phones, unsecure home networks, and even Wi-Fi hot spots make it possible for someone to find just about anything. 

We have made information such as troop movements and mission details ridiculously easy to find these days, if you know where to look.

But who would actually be looking for all this information? There is the obvious list of nefarious characters of course: identity thieves, sexual predators and your text-book criminals who are always looking to steal your information. When it comes to mission-critical information or even unclassified information, this list grows immensely.

Now you’re not just worried about common criminals, but hackers, nation states, foreign spies, and of course terrorists. Just because you don’t think the information is sensitive doesn’t mean someone else isn’t looking for it, especially when they can piece it together with other information.

Loose talk and unchecked chatter on social media sites have the potential to harm military operations and missions around the world. Airmen, Department of Defense civilians and family members need to be mindful of what they put on social media sites.

We need to continually consider OPSEC before we “hit send” each and every time! Maintaining OPSEC is of utmost importance to keeping everyone safe, so zip it up! 

Learn more on how to protect critical information on social media sites by contacting your squadron OPSEC coordinators.

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(U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

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