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AIR FORCE September 3, 2009
By LAC Aaron Curran
HAVE you ever woken up and
felt something was missing? How
about if you found out that your
whole identity was gone?
Those questions are becoming
more prevalent today because of an
increase in identity theft.
Labelled the vogue crime of the
new millennium by police, up to
124,000 Australians have their identity
stolen each year.
Social networking sites like
Facebook can potentially give up a
wealth of information on a person to
criminal gangs involved in identity theft.
462SQN OPSEC operator CPL
Simon Vanholland said that social net-
working sites, which provide excellent
social networking capabilities for all
users regardless of their geographical
location, also provide a useful avenue for
information gap filling for intelligence
agencies and criminal organisations.
"Over the years, Facebook has
been hacked several times," CPL
"Just look up YouTube and search
Facebook hacks and you'll find a
"The concern for Air Force is
that too much personal information
is being placed on social networking
pages and on the Internet, and this
information can be used to harm per-
sonnel and our capabilities."
What should personnel be aware of
Making too much basic personal
information available on the Internet
carries significant risk. Although it is
rarely mentioned, it places our person-
nel and capabilities at serious risk.
"The main thing to be aware of is
that once information is on the Internet
it can never be removed," he said.
"Basically, it's better to keep all
your personal information off the
However, for many people this
is unrealistic. What is required is
an understanding of how a personal
profile could be put
together using information
gleaned off the internet.
He said myths and
misconceptions, such as
"I don't have work details
on my Facebook or other
social networking page" or
"I don't talk about missions
or other OPSEC issues,"
need to be quashed.
"Although it is good
not to have those on your
page, it is largely irrelevant
when it comes to you being
targeted." CPL Vanholland
"The only way to avoid
being targeted is to ensure
you don't have a social
networking page, don't talk
on forums and understand
An example of how easy
it is to get information on a
person goes like this: a piece
of torn-up paper is found
in a unit waste disposal
bin. This is a print-out of
a Facebook page revealing
the Facebook user's name. A quick
search on PIPL.com and Wink.com
reveal several other social networking
pages such as MySpace and WAYN.
com -- hence revealing even more
The person's Facebook profile
could be locked, but this doesn't mat-
ter. A 'friend' request can be sent,
which has about a 70 per cent suc-
cess rate of acceptance. But, if illegal
means were used, a simple hack can
also gain access to the profile. By col-
lating the information on all three net-
working sites, a baseline information
collection activity can be started.
This may produce a name, a photo
of you, your spouse, family, children,
date of birth, school details, tertiary
qualifications, home town, place of
employment -- such as Amberley -- area
where you live, or all of the above.
The next step will be to look you
up in Air Force News. If you have
ever appeared in Air Force News
there may be a picture of you, and
information about your unit, rank and
With that information criminals
may have all the information they need
"It is from here the social engineer-
ing commences," CPL Vanholland
"Once a rank has been established
-- sergeant for example -- it is possible
to call the sergeant's mess posing as a
policeman and claim a need to contact
the member for some reason, thus
gaining contact details."
They can search whitepages.com
and find the home address, or fail-
ing this, a quick trip to the Australian
Electoral Commission will give the
address of the person.
"Once the address has been
obtained, Google Earth will give them
a street view and layout of a property,
making it easy to target the home and
the family for further information," he
"Identity theft has commenced."
Catalina festival calling
THE 70th anniversary of WWII
RAAF Base Rathmines (near Newcastle,
NSW) will be celebrated on October 24
during the annual Rathmines Catalina
Now in its third year, the Rathmines
Catalina Festival was originally held to
officially name Catalina Bay, adjacent
to the former base and as a fund raiser
to assist with the costs of refurbishing a
Catalina now registered as VH-CAT.
The day will commence with a street
parade involving ADF, veteran and com-
munity groups, followed by military dis-
plays, fly pasts and much more.
For details, call John Doig on (02) 4959 1372.
The Ceremonial Band will support the
216 Pilots' Course graduation parade at
RAAF Base Pearce. The parade steps off
Force10 will provide entertainment for
the Officers' Mess Make a Wish Ball
from 7pm at the Sebel and Citigate
The Air Force Wind Quintet will support
the RAAF Supply Conference function at
the Laverton Officers' Mess.
Air Power Brass will provide background
music for the Battle of Britain RAAF
Association Tasmania dinner. This annu-
al event is being held at Government
AFBAND Sydney Detachment will sup-
port the HQJOC Ball in Canberra.
Air Power Brass will support the Battle
of Britain Tasmania Ecumenical Service
at St David's Cathedral from 3pm.
The Ceremonial Band will support
the Battle of Britain Dining in Night.
This annual event is being held at the
Tattersall's Park Elwick Function Centre,
The Ceremonial Band will take part
in the Battle of Britain Wreath Laying
Ceremony at the Hobart Cenotaph.
Air Power Brass will provide musical
support for the Battle of Britain Wreath
Laying Ceremony in the Western
Courtyard of the Australian War
Memorial from 10.30am.
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