We’ve all been there – embroiled in an online discussion or fielding comments from someone who is completely wrong about a topic. How can you prove your point? Sharing classified information – which is what one British tank commander did – is not the way to go. News reports broke Friday of a British tank commander who got fired up about the specifications of the Challenger 2 tank being incorrect in the Gaijin Entertainment’s free online war game.
Games Are Important but Loose Lips Sink Ships
The user hadn’t just taken the documents and published them – it appears someone had made the attempt to redact information, with sections of what was posted heavily blacked out. Media reports have been similarly mixed in terms of what classified information was shared. But the basic gist is that a gamer took his argument too far, and was willing to share military documents in order to prove it.
The issue highlights the opportunity gaming plays for adversaries to exploit loose lips. The U.S. military is well aware of the opportunity gaming presents, and has sponsored advertising on games like Call of Duty and even created its own game, America’s Army. The military community loves its games, and it loves the life-like nature of many of them. But unless you’d like to discuss the finer points of a military uniform’s inaccuracy, it’s best to keep your mouth shut on how operational details differ from the real thing.
Classified, Sensitive, or CUI – no Place in Online Forums
The move also highlights how important it is to keep sensitive materials safe. It’s unclear if the redacted version of the report was redacted by the UK military or by the user. Either way, the materials were clearly marked sensitive and probably don’t need to be shared on an online forum to win an argument. The Department of Defense is looking to crack down on the sharing of information that’s sensitive but unclassified by its moves to protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Efforts around the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) also emphasis the need to protect the entire supply chain. Even information that isn’t classified should not be shared on an online forum. The best policy is to keep work and play separate – even if your play involves aspects of your work. Better to lose the game (or the online argument) and win the war.