Updated: May 5, 2021
Do we share too much on the media? It’s quickly turned into a place where we share all sorts of pictures, of people, of places, and we share everything about the happenings in those places. Consider LUMS for example – someone who stalks official LUMS accounts or looks at a few pages owned by LUMS students can understand nearly everything about LUMS, such as when certain places shut down on campus, what places are the most crowded and when, the layout of the university, and even how people within the community behave (what they focus on, what they care about, what makes them tick).
Now I have something horrifying I want you to consider… Consider someone wanting to (God protect us all) target the place. How easy do you think it would be for them to identify possible hiding spots, figure out how to enter the university, understand what places are the least and the most crowded and when, all to create a very exhaustive plan? It scares me. So much. More than I want to admit. And I wish other people cared too. In all our favourite action thrillers, where they plan a heist or a bank robbery, the first thing they do is explore the place, understand how it works and how its people function. Why do museums not allow pictures? Is it because they don’t want people to have copies of the artefacts? Or is it because they don’t want people having access to museum layouts and security placement? I know I may start to sound like a conspiracy theorist at this point, but hear me out.
Conflict and violence are rarely unplanned and random. It is systematically done to target the most vulnerable segments and create the most damage possible. Criminals targeting minorities do not grab guns and start shooting at random on the street. They understand where the community gathers in crowds, and lead with a plan. So, I ask you this – can you see what I mean when I say we might be sharing too much on the media? This stands for traditional and modern forms of media both. I remember when the APS attack happened, our news channels were reporting all sorts of information about the whereabouts of our armed forces, possibly revealing sensitive information about their strategy – effectively rendering it nearly useless or allowing the enemy to act on it. Things like this are just yet another example of how the media is now used to share far too much, and may exacerbate violence in conflict-ridden areas. It creates a generally unsafe environment for students, and may put a target on their backs. Lets not forget all the fatwahs that have been called against LUMS, and all the threats of terrorist attacks we have had to face, due to controversial information being shared on the media (such as the video of students dancing on Pink Day).
So, maybe just maybe, we should consider how the information we put on the media can quickly be misused and turned against us, and how it can lead to severe repercussions for our education system. After all, schools are where the strongest individuals are bred, and the function of society that has historically been targeted over and over again (from teachers to students and to infrastructure) to almost handicap the community in the long run. So, next time you post about your favourite isolated spot in LUMS, think again.
While not exactly social engineering or a nontechnical attack, I find myself reminded of them...