Several times a year, the Daesh ‘ISIS’ “Cyber Caliphate” releases a “kill list” with the names of law enforcement officers, firefighters, military personnel and other individuals who represent the strength and resiliency of America.

The intent, as its title implies, is to eliminate those people through any means available – gun, knife, baseball bat, bomb or running over them with a vehicle. If that’s not frightening enough, the list also includes addresses, places of employment and other personally identifiable information that could lead a potential killer to someone’s front door.

The terrorist organization claims it hacked DoD networks to obtain the data, but it’s fairly obvious much of the information came from social media. That’s right, individuals who are becoming targeted victims handed the required details over to the individuals calling for the attacks. Quite surreal, but tragically true.

In an effort to counter this threat, force protection experts across the DoD continue the push for social media discipline. “It has become a mainstay of the ongoing anti-terrorism awareness campaign,” noted a representative from the Protection Office – Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security at Fort Lee.

“We’re urging all members of our community – particularly military personnel, government workers, and their families – to use caution whenever they’re online to avoid attracting attention to themselves or inadvertently providing easily accessible information that could be turned into targeting data,” the DPTMS representative said. “Social media is the apex of vulnerability. ISIS and other criminal entities are mining that information and using it to instigate attacks and carry out identity theft and other illegal activities.”

State and federal law enforcement and intelligence analysts concur with that assessment. Experts have long-observed the false sense of anonymity and security that tends to exist among internet and computer network users. While online, most people don’t exercise the same level of caution they would when meeting someone in person.

“Even a single instance of dropping your guard and providing information without careful consideration can make you vulnerable,” the DPTMS representative said. “As we say often in our business, ‘once it’s posted, it’s public.’ Even closed groups and password-protected sites are capable of being hacked. So, the message is simple … think about the information before hitting the ‘send’ button.”

The Protection Office recommends using the information found at the following websites to assess one’s social media and internet safety: