OPSEC is short for Operations Security. OPSEC is simply denying the enemy information that could harm you or yours (as a nation or as individuals) or could benefit them. OPSEC is a process, but it is also a mindset.
PERSEC is Personal Security or Personnel Security. PERSEC is protecting the individual and his/her family and community. Don't post last names (some of us don't post first names either, but that is a personal choice--if you or your loved one has an unusual first name, don't use it), phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, your specific work place, or any other specific personal information that can be traced directly to you or your recruit or Sailor. The exception is the addresses at RTC and FPO addresses since those are publicly posted; just don't post the name of your recruit or Sailor. Posting that you are going to PIR on fB or on N4M or any other site if you are readily identifiable from your Username, picture, or posts lets the world know that you will be away from your home and may leave it and you vulnerable. A wife needs to be especially vigilant about not posting that her husband is away. Please keep PERSEC in mind for your recruit or Sailor, your family, and yourself when posting anything on the internet. Even the decals and bumper stickers you put on your car can put you at risk. (See https://www.facebook.com/palmbaypolice/posts/10158670013391703.)
OPSEC and PERSEC are intertwined and often the term OPSEC is used to refer to both concepts. The best time to start practicing OPSEC and PERSEC is now.
The US Navy has information for you at http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2015/03/23/4-things-to-know-about-opsec-and-privacy/ and http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/OPSEC/. (There is info on Social Media precautions in http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/OPSEC/terms.asp.)
The Ombudsman of the USS Carl Vinson posted https://cvn70ombudsman.blogspot.com/p/opsec-and-persec-measures.html. It includes links for making your social media sites more private.
Here are two sites written for family members of those in the Marine Corps, but the same principals apply to loved ones of those in the Navy: http://marineparents.com/deployment/opsec.asp and http://marineparents.com/deployment/persec.asp. Be aware of what you are making public.
This is NOT a secure site and ANYONE in the world with access to the internet can view information posted here. Watch what you post. Remember with just a piece of information here and another piece there, pretty soon someone can be well on the way to identifying who you are and who your recruit or Sailor is. Robberies have happened when people have indicated they would be away from home for events like PIR or a ship coming in. The potential for all sorts of problems exists. You never know who is listening, watching, reading, and potentially using the information we innocently provide in our excitement and pride. As time goes on, we tend to get comfortable in our Groups as we chat away with our new "Friends" and we give out TMI, forgetting to use our PMs and private offsite e-mails or to just not share certain types of information at all. We must always be on guard about what we post. Others on the site may give you a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder about OPSEC and/or PERSEC. Please don't be upset, but do realize that those who do that truly do have your best interests and those of your recruit or Sailor in mind and at heart when making the reminder.
Keep all of our recruits and Sailors safe. Don't post the last names of any recruit or Sailor. To connect with the mom of a recruit, you can post within the PIR group something like this:
I am wanting to connect with the mom of a (fe)male recruit in Division XXX with the initials XX. If this might be your recruit, send me PM or a friend request with your recruit's first name in the message portion of the request, then we can PM each other. Thanks.
If you only know the last name, you can say, "with a last name that begins with X" and you would change it to indicate that those responding would put the last name in the message. If people respond with a name other than the recruit's name, do respond and let them know that you are looking for a different mom, but don't reveal the name of the recruit to that mom.
Although PM's are supposed to be private on this site, it is not a good idea to send a PM that includes last names to a group of people. If you do send a PM to a group of people in hopes of connecting with a particular person, use initials. We do not know that all group members are who they say they are and messages can be forwarded without your knowledge. Also be aware of the Reply All feature and only reply to all if you really mean to.
There is no reason to share your personal email address with someone on this site until you have known them for a long time and wish to stay connected off of the site. You can Friend people on N4M and send a PM through the site. At this time you cannot send an attachment directly through a PM, but if you need to do that, you can do that by using the Comment Wall. The easiest way is to do it in a comment on the person's profile page. You can send the PM and then on the Comment Wall of their profile page say, "Here is the attachment" and then attach it. The recipient can then open the attachment and save it elsewhere and then delete the comment from the Comment Wall if it contains any personal information. A more secure way is to go to your own profile page and attach the document in a comment to yourself, then copy the info that comes up (highlight and ctrl C) and paste it (ctrl V) in a PM to the recipient and then to delete the comment to yourself on your own Comment Wall on your My Page.
There are other Discussions within the Forums, just go to the Forums tab and type OPSEC into the Search bar and hit enter.
There are things that you can post that might seem to be in violation of OPSEC. You may post articles or images that are taken from Navy-approved/official sites and publications, even if they contain full names of Sailors and locations. It would be best to include the link as well. Honor graduates and award winners at RTC are posted on the RTC website and can be posted here.
Battle Stations-21 (BST) dates are considered "ship movements" on this site (the USS Trayer is a ship after all) and are not to be posted openly. If your recruit lets you know when BST will be, please PM that info to others within your PIR group and do not post that information openly. There is more on that in Battle Stations-21 (BST).
Your PIR group and groups for some ratings and vessels also include a Page or Discussion on this topic. Be sure to read those as well for they may give additional insight into this important subject. Joining groups is a great way to stay informed and connected to others in a similar situation, but you do not have to join every group that might have a connection to your recruit or Sailor. For instance, I have joined the groups related to my Sailor's rating, but I did not join the groups related to his current command although I may have checked that group for information at times. Those with recruits or Sailors who are contracted for a special ops or Spook rating may want to lurk in some groups and not join and not mention the rating when they do post in the groups they do choose to join. When asked by others about their recruit or Sailor's rating, they can get good at saying, "S/He's in the Navy, but I really don't know much about what s/he does." That will be totally true and yet not reveal anything.
There is info in https://www.facebook.com/NavalOPSEC for protecting critical information.
This helpful website provides lots of useful information for both adults and children to keep them safer online. https://safeandsecureonline.org/
If your Username contains your last name, change it so that it does not include your last name, even if it is not the same as your recruit's or Sailor's. This helps keep everyone safer.
Why is it important to do this? Every time you post your recruit’s or Sailor’s first name, you are actually posting his/her full name if your Username and/or the URL to your profile page contains your last name and it is the same as your recruit's or Sailor's last name.
Similarly, you cannot use an email address as your Username. If you accidentally used your email address as your Username when you signed up, you will need to make changes 1 and 2.
It is easier to make the following changes on a laptop or computer than on a Smart phone, but if you must use a Smart phone, then change to Desktop View to make making the changes a bit easier.
1) To change your Username: Click on "Settings" in the upper left and then make the change to your "Username" (and any other changes to your Profile--like removing your recruit's or Sailor's name from the "About me" section if you have posted it there and to increase security, change the ZIP Code to one in another area of your state or another part of the country--you must include a ZIP Code, but no one said it had to be the one for where you live), then go to the bottom and click the "Save" button. It is best not to use the same Username on N4M that you use on other social media sites. Be unique! Before changing your Username, click on the Members tab above and type in the name you are considering and see how many others on the site share that Username. (If you make this change, you most likely will need to make change number 2 as well.)
Although including the Ship and Division number in your Username helps to find others in the same division, if the Chiefs and/or RDC's are checking out the site again, this draws attention to the division number, so you may want to consider removing that from your Username once you have made contact with others with loved ones in the same division. If your recruit or Sailor is contracted for one of the ratings that requires additional concern about OPSEC and PERSEC (SO/SEALs, ND, SB/SWCC, AIRR, EOD, CTI, CTM, CTN, CTR, CTT, IS, IT, and ITS), don't include that information within your Username or within the "A little about me:" section.
2) To determine if you need to change your URL: Open a page to your Navy for Moms My Page; look at the address bar (where you type web addresses for sites you want to visit, usually at the top of the page). If your last name (or that of your recruit or Sailor) is there, do the following: Click on "Settings" in the upper left and then click on "My Page" under "My Settings" in the middle, or if you are continuing from number 1, click on "My Page" under "My Settings" in the middle. The next screen says "My Page Settings" in the middle. Go down to "Address" and in the box next to "http://www.navyformoms.com/profile/", make the change to random letters and numbers or your new Username (or part of it) with no spaces or use underscores for the spaces. Then go to the bottom and click the "Save" button. If you are making the changes on your Smart phone, you will need to change to Desktop View before making this change because in the mobile view, you will not have the option to make the change and the URL will already be different from your Username.
3) To find out what others see when they visit your My Page: Open a page to your Navy for Moms My Page. Click on "Sign Out" in the upper left. Now hit the Back button (Arrow). It will bring you back to your My Page. (If your My Page appears to be still signed in, then refresh/reload the page so that it fully accepts the Sign Out.) The following message indicates that your Privacy Settings are set to "Members":
This profile is set to private.
You must be a member of Navy For Moms view this page.
The following message indicates that your Privacy Settings are set to "Just My Friends":
This profile is set to private.
You must be friends with [Username] to view this page.
If you can view everything on the page, then your Privacy Settings are set to "Anyone" and ANYONE with web access can see just what you are seeing. If you wish to change that: Sign in and click on "Settings" in the upper left and then click on "Privacy" under "My Settings" in the middle of the next page. Make the change and any others you wish on this page (such as unchecking all of the boxes under "Latest Activity" so that your content does not appear in the "Latest Activity" thread at the left) and then go to the bottom and click the "Save" button.
I have my My Page with the Privacy Settings set to "Members" so that any Member can drop by and ask questions or post a comment to my Comment Wall. I suggest that everyone consider changing their Privacy Settings to "Members" or, especially if you choose to post photos on your My Page or if your recruit's or Sailor's contracted rating is in Special Ops (SO/SEALs, ND, SB/SWCC, AIRR, or EOD) or one of the Spook ratings (CTI, CTM, CTN, CTR, CTT, IS, IT, or ITS), to "Just My Friends" to increase security. (See number 5 if you choose to delete photos from your profile page.)
If you do choose to put photos on your My Page, be sure that your Privacy Settings for Photos are set to Just My Friends.
4) To change or add your Profile picture : You must have the picture you want to use saved onto your computer where you can find it in your Pictures Library. To increase security, do not use a picture of your recruit or Sailor for your Profile picture. If you want to include your recruit or Sailor, you can include a picture of him/her walking away or hugging someone else or doing something else where the picture is taken of his/her back so that his/her face is not in the picture. To further increase security, remove the personal information tied to the picture before uploading it. (Right click on the photo. Click on "Properties" and then the "Details" tab and then on "Remove Properties and Personal Information." Do this for any picture you upload to N4M.) Once you have a picture, click on "Settings" in the upper left. In the middle of the next page, you will see "Photo." Under "Upload a new photo (GIF, JPG or PNG; limit 10MB)", click "Browse" and a new window will open showing the files on your computer. You may need to click "Pictures" to open your Pictures Library. Click on the picture you want to upload and it should load it to the "File name" box. Click "Open" and it will upload it to a box and ask you to select the visible region of your photo. Adjust the picture to your liking and then click the "Save" button in that box. It will then save the picture to your profile.
If you have a recruit or Sailor in special ops (SEALs, ND, SWCC, AIRR, and EOD) or another rating where OPSEC and PERSEC are essential, such as CTI, CTM, CTN, CTR, CTT, IS, IT and ITS, then it is especially important that you not have any photos that show the face of your recruit or Sailor readily available to anyone on the web and to be even safer, don't post your own picture or that of any person who is associated with your recruit or Sailor. This includes your profile picture, so you will especially want to keep that in mind as you make the changes above. Others should consider what they want to be open for everyone to see. Every time you post, you have your recruit's photo right there and if the RDC's are checking the site, you make it very easy for them to connect your posts to your recruit. Your Profile picture, Username, and the URL to your My Page are available to ANYONE who visits N4M and sees a post from you.
5) To delete Photos from your Profile page: Look down at the bottom right just underneath the Photo box. There is a link that says View All. Left click it. This will open up your My Photos page. All of your photos will show. Left click the name of the pic (directly underneath it) and that pic will open up by itself. Look at the top right just above the pic and you will see two tabs, Options and Add. Click Options. From there choose Delete Photo. You can have photos on your My Page and even ones of your recruit or Sailor, just choose wisely and make change 3.
6) Take a look at your My Page and see if you need to make other changes. You may need to click in the area at the top and change that to a greeting for those who visit your page or perhaps a saying that is special to you. To remove comments that still show in the "Latest Activity" section even after they have been deleted, click on the "Edit" button next to "Latest Activity" and then change the second box to "0" ("Show 0 Events") and click the "Save" button. You can leave it that way or go back and change it back to the number of "Events" that you want to display. If you have a recruit or Sailor with a contract for one of the special ops or Spook ratings, then it is a good idea to leave this at "Show 0 Events" so that your comments are not easily found by checking your My Page.
7) Hide groups and discussions. For those of you with a recruit or Sailor with a contract for one of the Special Ops or Spook ratings, it is a good idea to hide your groups so they do not show when someone visits your My Page. To do this, go to your My Page and on the left there is a section that says "My Groups" and has an "Edit" button next to it. Click the "Edit" button and then change the number to "0" ("Show 0 Groups") and then click the "Save" button. You may want to do the same thing with "My Discussions" depending on what you have posted (or you may choose to delete one or more of your discussions by going to the discussion and clicking on "Options" and then "Delete Discussion" if you have shared too much.
You can delete anything that you have written by clicking on the little x next to it and you can delete comments to you on your profile page. Some may want to use the little x to delete comments where you have posted too much information, or if someone has referred to you by your real name, or if a phone number or email address is posted. You can use the "Search" box within the Forums, Groups, and Blogs tabs and search for your first and/or last name and then delete posts you have made. You will also want to delete any of your posts that are close enough to the posts of others that come up where they mention your previous Username if their post can be definitively tied to your new Username. It will then appear that the member referred to has left N4M and the posts have disappeared. Again, don't post the last name of any recruit or Sailor unless the info you are posting is in the public domain and then also include a link to the info.
It may be helpful to open a second webpage to this page so you can look back to this page to do each step as you make the changes. If you have trouble making any of the changes, sign in on a different browser and then try again.
There is additional information on making your My Page more secure in the Page, 800 and 900 Divisions, that those with someone with a contract for one of the special ops ratings should read and heed, but those with someone with a contract for one of the Spooks ratings may also want to check out that information and make similar changes.
The above information is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a retired Sailor.