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Concerning study reveals easy access to data of our military service members

Local veteran and cybersecurity expert hopes to inspire law makers to take action and to raise awareness
Concerning study reveals easy access to data of our military service members
Posted at 5:00 AM, Nov 16, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — As consumers try to better defend themselves from fraud and the constant threat of identity theft, we’re following up on a recent study that shows the personal information of our military members is easy to access and it could pose a national security threat.

According to a recent report from Duke Universitythe personal information of U.S. military service members is being advertised by data brokers and researchers say it’s being sold for as little as 12-cents a person.

Things like names, phone numbers addresses, names of children, relationship status, net worth, and credit rating, could be acquired according to the study. Researchers say they bought records for nearly 50,000 service members for $10,000.

”I’m an Air Force veteran. My fifth week of basic training was September 11th, a pretty interesting day," said Rodney Gullate Jr. "Then I got out of the Air Force and started pursuing my career in IT and cyber.”

At the National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs, he is providing his unique experience as both a military veteran and cybersecurity professional.

”Big data they don’t care. They care about money," said Gullate Jr. "They are just going to keep doing whatever it takes to exploit us.”

He says the recent study from Duke University showing how easy it is to access and purchase the data of military service members should get our attention.

”That information is an asset to our adversaries," said Gullate Jr. "You better believe that cyberwarfare component is coming. The AI warfare component is coming.”

While the specifics of this study detail the impact on military members and their families, he warns bad actors might just want the information to gain access to more targets.

”They can use you as leverage to get to other people. So they attack your social media account and they’ll use that to reach all of your friends list as you,” he said.

United States senators on both sides of the aisle have already come out saying there needs to be changes in policy to better protect the data of both civilians and our military service members. Gullatte Jr. says it’s important that we do our part to speak up too.

”Reaching out to these legislators and telling them what these issues are, sharing those articles of things that are happening, and sharing concerns," said Gullatte Jr. "For us who are professionals in this field, it’s going to our legislators and saying hey we’re here to help.”

According to NBC Newsthere are European countries that have established strict regulations on the collecting, packaging, buying and selling personal information. Meanwhile, here in the United States aside from some limitations on medical data and information on children, our lawmakers haven’t moved on a general data privacy bill.

If you'd like to take a closer look at the Duke University study that is inspiting these important conversationsyou can follow this link.

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