May 17, 2012

Cyber Security important at home and the office

Commentary by Capt. Charles Lundine
355th Communications Squadron

Technological advancements utilized in the commercial market continue to gain leverage in the military and in our personal lives. Social networking, mobile electronics, and data availability offer opportunities to communicate more efficiently but pose some risk to the military and common users. With the proper education, device configuration, the latest patches and upgrades, and encryption, users can mitigate most known threats and communicate securely.

Social Networking provides Airmen the ability to communicate with friends, family and co-workers, and stay “connected” with interest groups and communities. Many web sites offer the consumer the ability to customize their page with applications and background data. In some instances these applications can contain malware and may infect a computer. Criminal organizations are shifting to social networking sites to host their malware and may allow users’ computers to be utilized in a “Botnet.” Botnets can be utilized to perform denial of service, spam, spyware, adware, fraud and scareware. With any software, users are encouraged to research the software to ensure it is from a reputable source to minimize risk.

Encryption offers another layer of security allowing users to protect critical or personal information and prevents unauthorized users from accessing and disclosure your data. As directed by the DoD Chief Information Officer all users must encrypt sensitive unclassified data on mobile government computing devices and removable storage media. Senior leaders and personnel who travel frequently with access to sensitive unclassified data on mobile devices/removable storage media are a priority for encryption use. Approved, free and easy-to-use software exists and is available. However, not all encryption software meets the DoD guidance. Please contact your Unit Software License Manager or the 355th CS Client Service Center for additional information about encryption software.

While cyber security is important in your personal life, it is imperative in our day-to-day government operations. All personnel have a critical role in defending our government network.

There are three quick and easy ways to you can protect our network:

– Never use unauthorized Universal Serial Bus devices (thumb drives, MP3 players, cameras and other types of portable flash media).

– Always manually virus scan media that is introduced to your computer.

– Educate one another on all do’s and don’ts in relation to those policies and mandates that are in existence and forthcoming.

For any security related questions, issues or concerns, contact your Unit Information Assurance Officer, Wing IA and/or the Information Protection Office. Another great source of Cyber security information is on the AF Portal in the Cyber tab.

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