US Servicemembers Vulnerable to Data Theft

( – Since becoming America’s Commander-in-Chief, President Joe Biden has helmed an administration that has transformed the military’s inner workings. Right or wrong, the White House has promoted transgenderism, expanded abortion access and implemented any number of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies in the ranks.

Both troops and potential recruits who happen to not be on board with those transformations now have a new worry to look forward to. What appears to be an already low state of overall force morale is likely to be exacerbated by the latest findings from a Duke University study.

Researchers at the school compiled data that showed active-duty personnel face an abnormally high risk of having their pedigree information stolen. The study, which was conducted with funding provided by the United States Military Academy at West Point, said the harvested data is then sold on the secondary market to companies based outside the U.S.

According to their findings, personnel records are often transferred without any additional layers of vetting. Duke’s report said that the apparent lack of scrutiny could open the door to a host of national security risks for the entire country. Unsavory personal data could make servicemembers vulnerable to blackmail under the right set of circumstances, they found.

The academics at Duke highlighted what they say are the standard practices of international data brokers and suggested that the firms go far beyond merely acquiring social security numbers, birthdates and addresses. Items like poor credit ratings and underlying health conditions can all be taken advantage of by someone or some nation who is intent on manipulation.

Even seemingly harmless data that has been posted to social media can be picked apart by foreign actors, according to the report. Major Jessica Dawson, who helms West Point’s Cyber Institute, said Duke’s findings are “really” just “a case of” nefarious elements outside the United States choosing to “target” members of the military “based on” their “specific vulnerabilities.”

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