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If Even the Marines Aren’t Safe Online, Are You?

By now you’ve surely heard: The Marine Corps got hacked. THE MARINE CORPS.

Here are places I expect to get hacked: Twitter (where I’m currently advocating weight loss pills it seems, although that was news to me). Occasionally Facebook. Maybe even gmail if I’m not being careful. Hey, it’s happened.

You know what I expect to not get hacked? THE MILITARY.

As soon as we found out, the hubby – who is an intel Marine – shook his head and said, “OPSEC, OPSEC, OPSEC.”

“OPSEC?,” I asked.

“OPSEC,” he said. “No one is safe online.”

You can read all about the hacking over on Military.com, but the moral of the story is the Syrian Electronic Army (presumably) redirected all the visitors to the Marine Corps site to this page, which said the following:

“Message to the United States Marine Corps:

This is a message written by your brothers in the Syrian Army, who have been fighting Al Qaeda for the last 3 years. We understand your love for your country so please understand our love for ours. Obama is a traitor who wants you to put your lives in danger to rescue Al Qaeda insurgents. Marines, please take a look at what your comrades think about Obama’s alliance with Al Qaeda against Syria.  Your officer in charge probably has no qualms about sending you to die against soldiers just like you, fighting a vile common enemy. They Syrian army should be your ally not your enemy. Refuse your orders and concentrate on the real reason every soldier joins their military, to defend their homeland.”

Quite a missive. We’ll gloss over the super 1989-use of the word comrade, the accusation that Obama is a traitor (even McCain has long supported intervention), and the incredibly inaccurate statement that your officer in charge has no qualms sending you to die at anyone’s hands, anywhere. We’ll even skip over the rather incredible reality of our current position, which does put us in the monumentally bizarre seat of lending support to Al Nusra, which is directly tied to Al Qaeda by rallying against a regime that uses chemical weapons on its own people.

Instead, we’ll focus on the most incredible part of all of this:

Guys. The Marines got hacked.

If you step aside from the situation, it’s almost kind of funny. I mean, it’s so nonsensical that it’s funny.

Except it’s not funny. Online security never is.

And if we were regular Joes, it would be no big deal. Weight loss pills on Twitter, the end. But instead I worry about so much more. When I get hacked, messages could be read that talk about where my husband is when he’s deployed. When I get hacked, time frames could be found for flights headed back to the U.S. When I get hacked, important information about the guy that matters most to me could wind up in the worst hands possible. When I get hacked, so does the military.

How do we all go about feeling safe in a digital world where even the Marines get brought down by some techies on the other side of the world? Do we skip Snapchat, Facebook, social media altogether? Do we get entirely offline? (Say no! We’d miss you!) What do you do to keep yourself safe online?

I can just hear SpouseBuzz managing editor Amy, our in-house OPSEC guru, repeat the same words as my husband. OPSEC, OPSEC, OPSEC. We take it not-so-seriously a lot of the time.

We’re kind of flippant about it. But when even the Marines get hacked, we clearly shouldn’t be. We also shouldn’t be using the word “comrade” seriously anymore, unless we’re planning an 80′s flashback party.

To simplify things, that was pre-hacking. So there’s that.

Want to test your Operational Security (OPSEC) knowledge? Check out our Six Surprise OPSEC Don’ts.

About Raleigh Duttweiler

Raleigh Duttweiler is a Marine Corps wife, mother, and professional procrastinator living just down the road from MacDill AFB in Saint Petersburg, Florida. She writes about spouse employment and education weekly for Military.com and posts here twice a month about truly life-altering, important issues like What Not to Wear to a Military Ball (visible thongs), Military Halloween Costumes We Love to Hate (ones that generally resemble both military uniforms AND thongs), and how to pack awesome care packages. (Who are we kidding? That really IS important.) She is passionate about spouse employment, higher education, and helping families navigate the often-bumpy transition back into civilian life. She also manages the SpouseBUZZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages, so make sure you say hello!