Last year, a huge swath of senior British military officers and Defence Ministry officials became friends with who they thought was United States Navy admiral James Stavridis. While Stavridis is a real US Commander, it now sadly turns out that the man behind the Facebook profile wasn't him; it was actually a Chinese spy.
In friending the spy, those British officials obviously leaked their own personal information reports ZDNet. That includes email addresses, phone numbers, pictures, the names of family members, and possibly even the details of their movements.
Perhaps understandably, NATO is recultant to state exactly who was behind the attack, but the UK Telegraph reveals that it was almost certainly someone involved in Chinese intellgience. A spokesperson from NATO said in a statement:
"There have been several fake supreme allied commander pages. Facebook has cooperated in taking them down. We are not aware that they are Chinese. The most important thing is for Facebook to get rid of them. First and foremost we want to make sure that the public is not being misinformed. Social media played a crucial role in the Libya campaign last year. It reflected the groundswell of public opposition, but also we received a huge amount of information from social media in terms of locating Libyan regime forces. It was a real eye-opener. That is why it is important the public has trust in our social media."
While it's one thing ensuring that Facebook cooperates with these kinds of problems, I can't help but think that a little more caution on the part of these Facebookin' officials might help rather more.
Note: The image above is actually the official NATO page of James Stavridis -- the fake page has been taken down.