Skip to comments.Insurgents Used Cell Phone Geotags to Destroy AH-64s in Iraq
Posted on 03/29/2012 7:27:51 AM PDT by rpierce
Heres a battlefield safety issue that some people have been warning about—and others have been ignoring—for a while now; an enemy using social media and cellphone geotagging to identify the precise location of troops on a battlefield.
When you take a photo with your cellphone, the gps coordinates of the location you took the picture is embedded into the image. When you upload said photo onto the internet for all to see, people can pull the location data from that picture. If you think this is just people being paranoid and that the Taliban would never do this in Afghanistan, think again. Insurgents figured out how to use this to their advantage in Iraq years ago. In 2007, a group of Iraqi insurgents used geotags to destroy several American AH-64 Apache choppers sitting on a flightline in Iraq.
From an Army press release warning of the dangers of geotags:
When a new fleet of helicopters arrived with an aviation unit at a base in Iraq, some Soldiers took pictures on the flightline, he said. From the photos that were uploaded to the Internet, the enemy was able to determine the exact location of the helicopters inside the compound and conduct a mortar attack, destroying four of the AH-64 Apaches.
During Israels 2006 war in southern Lebanon with Iranian-backed militia (more like a full on army) Hezbollah, Iranian SIGINT professionals tracked signals coming from personal cell phones of Israeli soldiers to identify assembly points of Israeli troops that may have telegraphed the points of offensive thrusts into Lebanon.
This is just one more example of low-end cyber warfare that can be as deadly as expensive software worms designed to infiltrate an enemys most heavily defended networks.
History has shown, never underestimate your enemy. As all the past invaders into Afghanistan have found out, the local tribes are serious warriors and from Alexander to the present, they are extremely adapt at fighting each new enemy. The terrain and time are on there side. They may to us look odd in their clothes and their habits, but in the past they where able to build almost perfect copies ot the British Enfield Rifle, so to with today's modern technology, they can get any type of cell phone, smart phones and all the rest and find ways to use them against us. What they have and what our troops have where probably made in the same factory in the Peoples Republic of China. Our side needs to put our technology into a stealth mode.
Bottom line, modern technology creates more ways to have loose lips in wartime. Be careful out there.
This is why we don’t reduce troop numbers.
There will NEVER be a replacement for a cornfed-farmboy with a stout weapon and a desire to perish the bad guys.....
This has real life implications to civilians the world over.
IT is incredibly easy for your photos posted online to be opened up and the GEOTAGs read by anyone with a desire to do so.
Some, but not all online hosting services strip all metadata out of images.
Those that don’t give the criminally minded a direct GPS coordinate to your location.
If you know the enemy is reading your mail, and planning ops based upon this intel, then use it against him.
Set traps. Bait them. Kill them.
Apparently our OpSec really, really sucks over there. Michael Yon warned about just this thing months ago.
But you are free to strip the metadata out yourself before posting them, by using widely-available open-source software like Irfanview.
Holy bad OPSEC Batman!
The possibilities are endless. There have probably been so many photos taken by soldiers in Afghanistan, that the Taliban can target individual tables in the mess hall.
something more to fret over ping....
This was sent to me by my son, who’s in the thick of it. I get the sense that the pros know about this. As you know, there are different lots of levels of servicemen. Some of them are probably too familiar with the technology and not the history and ramifications of battlefield intelligence.
PS coordinates and accurate mortar fire on them? I doubt those goat-herders could figure all of that out. G
Knowing that, the Israelis can buy truckloads of cheap cell phones and set up something like Patton's fictional First Army Group to fool their enemies with fake troop concentrations in the future.
This sort of thing happens easily enough, even without Soldiers taking pictures. Interpreters, local nationals, and others with access to the base can and have mapped them out using their own phones.
For all the power that our advanced precision weaponry brings to bear, social media proves to be an extremely effective counterweight to it when in the hands of a motivated insurgency. Something to remember. ;-)
The time has come to take a picture of Mecca and to use photoshop to make it look like US army barracks.
Hell, it doesn’t even take that much. An 82d ABN BN we were working with nabbed an interpreter who had sketched out a detailed map of their COP for his insurgent buddies simply by pace count.
Pity they're not actually doing anything about it like maybe sharing that information with our people or something sensible along those lines. Were I the CO I'd yank every personal cell phone and smart device for the duration. Period.
Then you REALLY weren’t paying attention during the Iraq War. Ask a vet how “primitive” their enemy was. Our boys fought a tough, disciplined, enemy that were well trained by the Soviets before the fall. Don’t discount their victory by thinking their enemy was a bunch of primitive goat-herders/
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I was just complaining this week that everyone is running around sensitive areas with a cell phone in their pocket.
No one seems to take the threat seriously.