Air Force

February 7, 2013

Digital threats detected by digital warriors

Senior Airman Michael Washburn
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

As Senior Airman Ryan Brock, 355th Communications Squadron information assurance technician, sits at his desk, the glow of the computer screen illuminates on his face. He’s looking for perpetrators of the digital kind. Those who unknowingly put D-M’s computer network systems at risk.

Most Airmen clearly know the Air Force Instruction not to plug in anything to a government computer that is not authorized. For others though, the AFI is a little murky. Network security goes sour when Airmen start plugging their personal equipment into government computers. Small things like hard drives and thumb drives can cause large headaches.

“If someone were to take an external hard drive home and plug it in to their computer which doesn’t have proper virus definitions, when they plug it back into our network, our computers will have what the individual had,” Brock said. “This could be potentially anything including a trojan, a worm or it could be spybots that were placed there by the Russian government.”

If an individual needs to get a hard drive for their office, they can’t just go to the store and buy one. They need to go to their information assurance officer and let them know they need one. They can have one purchased using their unit’s funds. The hard drive needs to have a 355th CS certification letter on it with the date, drive name, device serial number and approval number. It also needs to have the information assurance approval signature. Only then would it become an authorized hard drive.

Along with computer equipment, cell phones are also posing a problem.

“Most phones can basically act as a hard drive and they’re usually always connected to the internet,” Brock said. “So, if someone plugs their phone into a computer, they just bypassed all the firewall security we have in place by introducing a straight internet source into the computer. That can be devastating from a network security standpoint.”

Brock states that people tend not to think about risks associated with phones.

“People don’t have the same mindset when they’re surfing the net on their phone like when they’re on the computer,” Brock said. “On a computer, they’re mindful of risks, but on a phone they don’t think about it. It’s really easy to get things introduced that way.”

Just as police officers keep crime at bay, Brock is primed to lay down the electronic law on those who put our system at risk.

“We have a script on our computers that will detect if anyone has anything plugged into the USB ports of their computer,” Brock said. “We’re not looking for authorized items; we want to find unauthorized items.”

If the script picks up anything, Brock takes action … disciplinary action.

“An email gets sent off to the communication squadron commander, the individual’s supervisor and IAO,” Brock said. “I let them know who the violator was and what happened. The user will have their account disabled, and won’t be able to unlock it until after they’ve completed the information assurance computer based training course. They have to come into the communication squadron building and retake it on a stand-alone computer. After that, they have to meet with the commander along with the individual’s supervisor to explain what they did and why.”

The idea is to discourage other individuals in that Airman’s office from doing the same thing.

“Even if they’re rushing, it’s still going to be at least a day of down time,” Brock said. “We’re not doing this to be mean. We’re doing this because it’s a serious problem that has shut down the system in the past. It may be embarrassing and frustrating, but it gets the point across.”

The advice Brock gives is the same information they brief during rightstart.

“The thing we brief is to remember that every time someone is logged in, they are responsible for anything that happens on that system,” Brock said. “People need to know what’s plugged into their computer. Don’t plug in anything that isn’t authorized, period.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

What to know before you go to the open house

More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the “Thunder and Lightning over Arizona” Air Show and Open House April 12 and 13. The event is open to the public and admission is free. It is two days of nonstop entertainment, but a few tips can help make the experience more pleasurable for guests. Traffic...
 
 

D-M Airman defuses situation downrange

One of the biggest defense mechanisms of any expeditionary air base is the ability to launch aircraft to neutralize threats. Several 380th Air Expeditionary Wing agencies are charged with getting air operations back up and running as soon as possible should the flightline or runway be attacked. The 380th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal...
 
 
wall

The writing on the “Walls”

The “Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona” open house will feature many showcases, mostly centered on aerial displays. But one exhibit takes us from the skies to the ground and across thousands of miles to the sands of Iraq, ...
 

 

Will Allen: The Flying Tenor

Combining his vocal talents with his flying, Will Allen as “The Flying Tenor” brings a new type of air show performance that will stir your soul. Will sings the national anthem live from the cockpit of his Pitts bi-plane while flying an aerobatic routine that has been choreographed to harmonize with the cadence and crescendos of the...
 
 
DesertRat

Desert Rats

The “Desert Rats” Warbird Demonstration Team makes a high-speed run past each other in their CJ-6A Chinese basic pilot trainer aircraft. The CJ-6 aircraft, designed in 1958, are still flown today by China’s People’s Lib...
 
 
USAFBlue

USAFA Wings of Blue

Each year, the Wings of Blue Demonstration Team performs at more than 50 special events in front of over 2 million spectators. Demonstration venues include airshows, NFL and College football games, and special events across the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin