Question of the Day: How’s Your Online Operational Security?

bathtub-bike

“Licensed firearm holders are being urged by police to stop taking selfies with their guns because criminals are trawling social media looking for easy targets,” Australia’s au.news.yahoo.com reports. “Victoria Police Senior Sergeant Andrew Armstrong says gun owners are becoming too complacent and recklessly showing off ownership of their weapons without considering the consequences. Any public display of firearm ownership, including stickers on vehicles or house windows, can attract unwanted attention from thieves, he says. ‘Some criminals trawl social media networks looking for easy targets and items of interest, including ammunition and other weaponry,’ Sen Sgt Armstrong says.” Do you maintain online OpSec? Is that even possible?

comments

  1. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    I try. Every time I post a tidbit (no photos) on a web site, I cringe a little.

    It’s difficult to know what’s prudent and what’s overkill…

    1. avatar justAMan says:

      One tip is to turn off GPS tagging on photos or location sharing on photos when using “the Facebook.”

      You don’t want to make it too easy for them.

    2. avatar B Free me Bro says:

      Posting on gun pages is the same thing as taking a selfie.
      That said, I’m quite confident that gun owners are not easy targets. Using the Aussies logic any cop returning home from work in his uni is also an easy target…,NOT.

      1. avatar Nathan says:

        to understand what makes an Aussie gun owner an “easy target” you must first understand Australia’s laws on possession and storage of guns

  2. avatar Puyallup Devil Doc says:

    What guns? I lost all of my guns in an unfortunate boating accident.

    1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

      What a coincidence, same thing happened to me. Anyway, I don’t do social media other than to monitor what my kids post on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, etc. etc.

    2. avatar v v ind says:

      Lost in a boat accident? The aforementioned thieves are ‘trawling’ for guns and ammo. Apparently they weren’t making it as fishermen. They may get your firearms yet.

    3. avatar notalima says:

      Me too. It is amazing how often this seems to happen. We should pass a law. That would surely stop it from happening.

  3. avatar TheBear says:

    Meh. I don’t worry too much about it. I maintain a certain level of opsec just to keep a certain level of professionalism, but the day I change my entire life around concerns over criminals (other than CCing), I’ll just throw in the towel and start living in a cave.

    I love my guns but they’re just objects. Anything that’s material can be replaced. If someone breaks into my house and steals my guns, that is their bad, not mine.

    Blaming gun owners for people stealing their guns because of
    pics on Facebook is like blaming rape victims because they were wearing a mini skirt.

  4. avatar Paul53 says:

    Locally few people have any signs or stickers referring to guns. Just an NRE sticker on a car is likely to get your car turned inside out in search of hidden weapons.
    All my guns were lost during a squall on the Rio Grande!

    1. avatar Abad says:

      I don’t like the idea of not proudly proclaiming I am a 2A supporter but, re NRA stickers and such, I recently have come to feel I have more to worry about from government anti-gun entities than criminals in displaying vehicle stickers and such. No need to draw undue attention to where I live and what I MIGHT have…

      Re internet OPSEC, aliases are dandy. Obviously my FB account could be traced but not by ordinary criminals, just the government types with too much tax-payer sponsored time on their hands…

      Sorry state of affairs when people fear their government more than ordinary criminals.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Only 4 of my facebook friends know my real name. Only one of those lives in the same state.

    1. avatar Chief Master says:

      It’s not Tom?!?!

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Haha.
        Nope.

        1. avatar v v ind says:

          Hmm, is it Oregon?

        2. avatar Ralph says:

          I’m okay if Tom in Oregon isn’t actually Tom and isn’t in Oregon, as long as he’s not actually Shannon from Indianapolis.

    2. avatar v v ind says:

      Don’t feel bad Tom, I only have 5 friends….and that’s in real life, I don’t even have Facebook.

    3. avatar jwm says:

      After seeing that yoga, back flippy shooty thing you did in the video I don’t think gun thieves are a big concern for you. Now perverts on the other hand……

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Now that got me an offer from Barnum and Bailey!
        Ok, and fredericks of Hollywood.

        1. avatar Avid Reader says:

          Eeww. And here I was enjoying my lunch. . .

    4. avatar TheBear says:

      If you’re not being sarcastic, that is actually kind of creepy.

  6. avatar pod says:

    I post political and editorial articles about firearms, but I don’t specify which, if any, firearms I own if possible. I’m not going to be “in the closet” about ownership, but I’m diligent as to what I reveal.

  7. avatar PeterK says:

    Well we ain’t gonna win that culture war by being all gun shy about selfies.

    1. avatar TheBear says:

      Good point.

  8. avatar Templar says:

    If the oz police feel this way then why do they want gun registration ?

  9. avatar CYRANO says:

    I don’t specifically mention the depth or breadth of my collection or even specifically any certain gun on my Facebook. For one I have to know you in real life to have you on my Facebook and two I live far enough out in the country with an unlisted address to discourage most hooligans. And finally three… You are going to have to get past the guard dogs and the armed neighbors first. I had a transplanted gang member threaten me in high school. He said he heard where I lived. I told him “its a gauntlet going in and definitely a gauntlet coming out. I know everyone on my lane and they all are crack shots.” He never bothered me much after that conversation. I believe you should live your life to the level you are willing to defend it.

  10. avatar Chevelier says:

    The only thing related I posted concerning my personal guns, when I was still on Facebook, was a picture of a B27 target that I shot in half with my mossberg 930 spx. The bottom half was hanging on by a thread. The caption was simply “This is gun control” Most of my friends got a kick out of it. If anyone seedy saw it, well my door was never kicked in nor my house broken into so I guess I’m ok.

  11. avatar Not Jimbo says:

    Other considerations: do you wear t-shirts/ballcaps/other swag with Logos from Glock, S&W, Ruger, Browning, etc.?
    And where does Open Carry fall in the OpSec spectrum?

    I can see both sides of the issue – the tactical benefits of being an icognito gun owner, but also the strategic, long term cultural effect of ‘showing your colors’: the more people who publicly espouse gun brands or gun ownership in general, the more people are aware of normal, productive, law-abiding, tax-paying folks who own guns.
    Personally, I don’t put any kind of bumper sticker on my car/truck, but I will wear my Ruger t-shirts or caps sometimes.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      If a thug sees you on the street with your Glock cap or your openly carried 1911, they generally don’t know your name or address. If they tried hard enough, I suppose they could follow you until they got the info they needed. But it would require quite a bit more effort than identifying you online.

      Like preventing identity theft, it’s not about making it impossible for thugs to find your guns. It’s about not being the low hanging fruit.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    What’s a selfie? What’s a facebook? What’s operational security? What’s that strange man doing in my shower? Wait — is that Tom in Oregon?

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Haha!
      Snuck up on you again!!!

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “What’s a selfie?”

      It’s like a quickie, but you’re by yourself…

  13. avatar The Mountain that Rides says:

    Wait, wouldn’t thieves find easier targets then people showing off the means to put nasty ragged holes in said thieves? If criminals want to find easy victims, they should look up the various members and commentors on Moms Demand Action, or Brady Campaign, or any of the other anti gun groups. Most of them have money, and they don’t believe in personal defense. As long as you don’t try to go after the ones known for their hypocritical keeping of armed guards, they should be a cash cow.

    In fact, this could be a very good way for me to make a lot of money, and convert a lot of antis all at once.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      You are correct in your conclusions, IMO.

    2. avatar styrgwillidar says:

      This is directed at thieves/burglars who want to grab your stuff when you’re not there. The same folk who case a neighborhood to figure out when homes aren’t occupied so they can break in your guns/jewelry/computer etc. They’re not worried about you defending your property because they’re planning to never confront you.

      1. avatar The Mountain that Rides says:

        Yes, but showing off my collection of guns and knives would be a good deterrent for those criminals who DO want a confrontation. Sure, I’m not going to announce to the world when I’m not home, but if somebody breaks into the house when nobody’s in it, they’ve got 10 minutes before the alarm system brings the police, and a 50 pound English Shepherd to make that 10 minutes pretty frantic and painful. Also, decent insurance and a big safe from Liberty, so anything really valuable is going to be pretty hard to take with them, especially since all of the tvs are bolted to the wall, except for the ancient tv that I have hooked up to a VCR and an N64 in the back room.

        But, if I’m going to answer the OP, I don’t tell people where I live, I never give out my full name, and nobody has any business knowing my schedule. My OpSec consists of telling people I just got back from vacation, post a few pics, and maybe give a timeline of events while I was away. But this is all after the fact. And I have never been narcissistic enough to post my every waking move on any forum, because I don’t care, and I’m sure as hell nobody else does either.

  14. The fact that I own guns and shoot them regularly should be more of a deterrent for crime. Now posting that you are on a two week Mediterranean cruise and could your neighbor pick up your mail, might be a red flag.

  15. avatar Spectre_USA says:

    Oz?

    I had thought that poor, unfortunate land down under had all but banned private firearm
    ownership.

    Maybe that is why the selfies are being warned against, as they are so rare, and likely
    illegal.

    >Puts on Google beanie for a little research.<

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I met a few Aussies at a shooting range in Las Vegas last year. IIRC, they told me that single shot and bolt action rifles are permitted. They had a whole lot of fun shooting full auto at the range.

    2. avatar Grindstone says:

      Like the UK, they have limited guns, mostly shotguns and rifles, for farmers and those in the outback. Also they do have special permits for self-defense handguns but only for very, very special people who are better than the proles.

  16. avatar cmeat says:

    i’ve alluded to some of my preferences on here. i’m a little more concerned about the nra and isra stuff that comes via post (the backup postman has shifty eyes…).

  17. avatar El Bearsidente says:

    I’ve posted photos of my guns on facebook.

    But… I’m not using my real name on facebook. Some of the info I’ve entered there is true, some of the info is a lie.

    It’s not an issue about photos of guns. It’s an issue about online privacy in general. Things like phishing, online stalking and ID theft work because people plaster all their crap onto the internet, because they hand out any information without thinking. That is the real problem.

  18. avatar Milsurp Collector says:

    I am of the twitter, instagram,”look at me!” generation, but have always played my cards close to my chest, so TTAG is my only form of social media aside from regular email and the ocassional skype call. My grandpa says one of the dumbest things you can do to bring unwanted trouble into your life is plaster your car with bumper stickers, and that same logic applies to life in general. My opsec minded use of the internet might not keep the NSA off my back, but it certainly prevents a whole lot of headaches when I don’t even associate with people who would otherwise know I own guns along with my real name. The only people I see in person who know are the ones I’ve cultivated mutual trust with anyway.

  19. avatar Mat says:

    In Australia isn’t the larger danger to gun owners the government?

  20. avatar preston says:

    its easy, DELETE FACEBOOK

  21. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    “…Australia’s au.news.yahoo.com reports.”

    But I thought Australia got rid of all its guns? Isn’t the Land Down Under some sort of Gun-Free Utopia that all the disarmists keep bleating on about wanting to emulate?

    1. avatar bozo says:

      My thoughts as well… maybe they’re showing off their hunting rifles? Or illegally manufactured home made guns?

    2. avatar Grindstone says:

      Like the UK, they have limited guns, mostly shotguns and rifles, for farmers and those in the outback. Also they do have special permits for self-defense handguns but only for very, very special people who are better than the proles.

  22. avatar Grindstone says:

    This is why I ignore things like the “Please use your real name” here on TTAG.

    1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

      What, your real name isn’t Grindstone? Shocked, shocked to find out that folks post under aliases! Next you’ll tell me there’s gambling at Rick’s.

      1. avatar Avid Reader says:

        It’s said “Please use your real name instead of you [sic] company name or keyword spam” for some time, but with all the website crap I haven’t had the heart to point it out to the poor SOBs that run the site. . .

  23. avatar LarryinTX says:

    You tell me. I couldn’t find facebook on a bet, my phone is used to make and receive phone calls, period, I’ve no idea how to “post a photo”, and yet I don’t really care, come and take them.

  24. avatar danthemann5 says:

    I don’t have a Spacebook or a Tweeter or whatever else the kids are into these days. This is really the only site I post anything on anymore, and the possibility that I might own guns based on that fact probably wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

  25. avatar Chris says:

    If a person sees my posts with a gun and thinks that I’m the easy target then it’s their loss. Of life. This is a political narrative to get gun owners to shut up so it doesn’t seem like there’s as many of us as there actually is. The ones who support moms demand and everytown are the easy targets. I say post away and drown the naysayers in barrage of gun photos.

  26. avatar Pulatso says:

    I don’t know what you call whatever is going on in that photo…but I call it Wednesday.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      You win.
      Because that right there, is talent.

  27. avatar RT says:

    No way that’s an actual facebook photo, no duck-face.

    My guns don’t make my pictures very often, but a s**t-ton of dead animal pics do. Guess that’s just about the same though.

  28. avatar tdiinva says:

    I don’t use social media. That is the ultimate in online OPSEC.

  29. avatar charles says:

    Post a photo, who cares. Get a real gun safe (Liberty or Fort Knox) and bolt that sucker to the floor, a home alarm, a dog and make sure everyone in the house is carrying at all times. 😀

  30. avatar Stinkeye says:

    I always remember to selfie my tweetbooks on the YouFace with hashtags. Am I doing it right?

    1. avatar Chip in Florida says:

      Can I add you to my MySpace page?

    2. avatar Grindstone says:

      You forgot the geebees and the why-fies.

  31. avatar JQP says:

    Op Sec? Sorry, no comment.

  32. avatar Michael says:

    My Facebook privacy settings are such that other people can’t see what pages I like/follow, so there’s no clear indication there that I’m following TTAG, Silencerco, etc. I don’t post anything about guns on Facebook, either. I don’t display any related bumper stickers, wear any clothes with an AAC logo, or advertise in any way that I have thousands of dollars worth of standard and NFA items in my apartment.

    With rare exception I don’t tell people what I have, either; for one, you don’t know who they’ll tell. This is doubly true when you’re dating different women at different times… if I told every woman that ended up in my apartment that I had silencers, SBR, etc, that’d be a pretty long list. What happens when things don’t work out? What happens if they’re anti-gun? What happens if, unbeknownst to you, they’re either willing to steal your shit or they know someone who is?

  33. avatar Bigred2989 says:

    It’s why my complementary NRA bumper stickers stay in a dresser drawer.

  34. avatar Bobby C King says:

    I am finally convinced.

    After being a law abiding citizen all of my life, people who own guns are just too easy to target and rob.

    Darn, wish I had not been so stupid for so long!

    I think I will start my rampage tonight. And yes, I won’t be taking any weapons with me as I break into homes that I KNOW that the people inside have guns and know how to use them…….

    I bet they will Sh*t when they see me politely ask them to put down their weapons and assist me take everything I want, rape their daughters, and then help me load the booty…..

    Do I now qualify as a libetard?

  35. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    They let mere serfs in Australia have guns? They must be talking about royal government employees.

  36. avatar Southern Cross says:

    My operational security is need-to-know. And my neighbours don’t need to know. I back the car up to the garage when loading and unloading. The rifle(s) are moved in a padlocked gun case. Ammunition cans are also padlocked. And a cargo blind is pulled over the load area of the car.

    My guns are locked in a safe that is dyna bolted to a rebarred concrete floor. Ammunition storage is also locked. Alarm system and a large dog complete the security.

    I simply don’t tell anyone about the sport. My employers certainly do not know but I think they do from the police check I had to undergo to work in the finance industry.

    Things downunder are not ideal but we scored a notable win in a recent Federal Senate inquiry into gun violence which totally revealed the anti-gun stance of the inquiry and made the Greens and Gun Control Australia look like complete idiots. I’ll post a link when I find one.

    1. avatar Bobby C King says:

      I have guns and ammo in PVC with silica packs buried in places that only those in a need to know situation know about. Everybody needs to show Johnny Law by open carrying that its time that they need to know we have had enough and will fight to preserve and protect the Rights granted us by God and through the Constitution.

  37. avatar JoeVK says:

    Shooting a Christmas tree while naked, riding a bike, and playing a guitar in the bathtub? And who the hell puts a toaster oven, an Xbox and a tv on an ironing board in the bathroom? Lol, who came up with the idea for that pic, and what substance were they using at the time?

    1. avatar Bobby C King says:

      A Libetard who believes that showing a picture of yourself with a gun makes you a target.

      Selfies with a gun or open carrying with a gun makes you no more a target than a Police officer with a gun.

      Think about this; We have a Constitution in the United States that provides for non exclusions to be included in ANY law. Yet buildings posted that guns or weapons are prohibited do not include police officers. Such Laws violate the Constitution.

      The problem is that we have allowed the three branches of Government in the United States to intertwine, with the Judicial Branch holding more power than either of the other two. I don’t expect undereducated Libetards to understand, but until we return to putting God first (and I mean the one and only true and living God of Abraham and Moses, the Father of my Savior Jesus Christ) and back into our Government institutions, the United States will continue to fail.

      We must demand that our Leaders keep and follow their oath of office. If our Leaders continue to defy the Constitution, we must be ready to put our Faith in God and stand up against our own Leaders who are proving that they intend to take away our God given right to self defense.

      If you want a Government that gives you free healthcare, a Government where every has a job, a Government where the Government provides all of you care and needs as the Government sees fit and only the Police have weapons, commit a crime and go to prison!

      I was born free. At a time when Freedom, Liberty and Justice for all were not hollow words.

      Now this is only for those who are educated enough to understand. The thin blue line has been crossed. NEVER in my lifetime have I heard of any person alleged of a crime being allowed to appear before a Grand Jury who is making determination about whether or not to indict, or return a No True Bill.

      If you don’t understand what I am talking about, please educate yourself.

      NEVER FORGET FERGUSON, MO. Ferguson, the killing of Brown and how that whole issue was handled is a wake up call to all Red Blooded Americans to get ready.

      I open carry every day. I also conceal a back up weapon. Why? The Government is who we need to fear and my being outspoken online and in pubic at public meetings makes me a target. But I have one who will always protect me. And as I have accepted salvation, I do not fear death. In fact, I look forward to my death. For through my death and the grave, I shall reach an incorruptible world.

      Evil will never prevail when the Faithful Stand Fearless!

  38. avatar publius2 says:

    Opsec? ha!

    Unless you are coming to ttag from behind a vpn, EVERY single time, with cookies off, wiping yor browser, and a rferrer spoofer, then yor ip address is logged on the server, andd ttags isp. Leave your location setting on your mobile, and browse here and att, verizon, and google have you geolocated by undetectable, unwipeable supercookies.

    And all these forum posts are available on the Wayback Machine.

    But thats the easy way. Merchants have your buying history on debit and credit cards and have been sharing for years. Snowden was right.

    Now, does that mean I am worried? No, there’s three hundred million of us, and unless criticizing progtards is a crime, I’m clean. Well, except for those google searches of shannon and fifty shades of gray….j/k.

    Gray man = opsec. No Gadsen stickers or NRA ballcaps. No ‘tactical’ vests. No rigger belts or Merrills.

    1. avatar Bobby C King says:

      Don’t want anyone to know where you are located? Use Hotspot Shield. I can be anywhere in the world within seconds. From CA to England then to Germany. Find me if you can. Check my IP address……

    2. avatar publius2 says:

      Thanks for the tip.

      Question, not to go too far OT, but how do you know Hotspot Shield isnt a flypaper strategy for NSA? Like TOR? Or another data broker saving your ip and browsing history, as a man in the midldle? Do you REALLY trust an app?

      PS: PaleMoon ver 25 is out, fully free of the ThoughtPolice and ReligionNazi’s at Mozilla, for you Firefox fans. Mozilla was really just living of revenue from Google searches, anyway…and adding more intrusive code.

      Pale Moon is MUCH leaner and faster.
      And updated AdBlocker Latitude stops those annoying ads and autorun vids…Ghostery works too…

  39. avatar SurfGW says:

    The real reason not to post gun pics is because they will be used against you. All employers do background checks, most often starting eith a look at your Facebook profile. Any gun puts you into the “must investigate further” category.

    Also, you can’t imagine how often gun ownership is brought up to paint a picture of risk of violence in divorce and child custody cases.

    Last, the NRA sticker makes you a police target to see if you have an improperly carried weapon in your car.

    So don’t:
    -“check into” places to show you are not home
    -Post pics from vacation – wait until you get back
    -Post pics of your hunt
    -Post pics of your guns or be part of a gun Facebook group
    -Have an NRA sticker on you car
    -Wear “Glock”, Browning Deerhead, or anything else
    -Have trophies/antlers in your house where others can see them

    1. avatar Bobby C King says:

      We can let our rights be trampled upon if we wish. Can you find the definition of infringed?

      You are right. The police do target people who carry, but they are violating Civil Rights. There is a current lawsuit in Ohio Federal Courts over this very issue.

      Stand up, or shut up. The only way to stop the Police from unlawful practices is to bring suit and teach them that the cost of violation of a persons Civil Rights is not worth the juice. If you don’t want to live in a police state, stand up for your rights.

    2. avatar Chip in Florida says:

      “…Last, the NRA sticker makes you a police target to see if you have an improperly carried weapon in your car.”

      They can pull me over if they like. I ask them politely if I am being cited for a traffic violation or am I free to go.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email