Health & Safety

October 10, 2013

Be more vigilant: Protect passwords, government systems

Brandice J. O’Brien
Tinker Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  – In an era when identities can be easily stolen and networks compromised, Air Force Sustainment Center officials are urging its network users to be more careful. By adhering to two requests, the number of attempted hacker intrusions and virus downloads can be drastically reduced.

Officials stress that network users should never plug non-government USB devices including cell phones and MP3 chargers into the system. Also, if user names and passwords must be sent via email, send them in separate and encrypted messages. That way if someone does hack into a message, he doesn’t have both the user name and the password. Air Force systems include the Air Force Portal, My Pay, Thrift Savings Plan and the Employee Benefits Information System.

“USB devices can easily spread malicious logic,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Gebert, 78th Air Base Wing Network Security noncommissioned officer in charge.

Prinston Wilson, 72nd ABW/SC Information Assurance officer who also handles network violations and credential disclosures, agreed.

“We pick up a lot of things on our cell phones. If you’re using your phone as a flash drive and saving to it, and it picks up a virus; once it gets into our system it work its way up,” Mr. Wilson said. “Credential disclosures have become a growing problem. Hackers can do a lot with your information. They can take your social security number, job history and personal data, put the data together and use it to gain access into other systems.”

In August, there were 12 reported AFSC violations, three for USB incidents and nine for account credential disclosures, or ACDs.

Mr. Wilson said oftentimes a credential disclosure occurs when a user is in a rush and sends their list of user IDs and passwords unencrypted through email to their personal email address. When these user IDs and passwords are sent unencrypted, they can easily be picked up by hackers and used to gain unauthorized access to government systems.

“Usually people keep the same password for a lot of systems and when hackers find out one password, they can figure out access into other systems,” he said.

If a USB violation or credential disclosure is found on a government system, the account is disabled and only a commander – colonel or above – can unlock the account. The commander will also have to fill out a memo explaining the incident and actions that were taken.

“USB violations have been reduced dramatically over the past eight months due to Group Policy Object capability being implemented,” said Ryan Moorman, AFSC Logistics Portal Content manager at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. “Robins Air Force Base, Ga., implemented this capability first and has had no USB violations since.”

The GPO capability is a policy that forces a computer to block a driver from being loaded when a flash device is plugged in. The driver is the necessary component that lets an operating system and flash drive communicate. Without a driver, a computer won’t read a USB, Mr. Moorman said.

“There is no steady trend of ACDs based off the statistics of the past six months, however due to the sudden rise in August, leadership looked to create awareness on the issues across the center,” Mr. Moorman said.




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


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier)

PASM and AMARG set new record

The Pima Air and Space Museum and the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group set a new record for tours administered in the month of July. The non-profit museum and D-M’s “Boneyard” brought in 2,060 visitors, ...
 
 

Help make it possible

D-M is preparing to kickoff its annual Combined Federal Campaign Sept. 1. The CFC’s mission is to give federal employees the opportunity to promote philanthropy by supporting their favorite charities. There are more than 3000 national and international charities for federal employees to choose from. “Now, D-M members can give to any charity in the...
 
 

MAC celebrates 85th anniversary

The Tucson Metro Chamber Military Affairs Committee celebrated its 85th anniversary earlier this month. The MAC became a standing committee of the Tucson Metro Chamber in 1929. At that time, the Chamber’s Aviation Committee was responsible for the Pilot’s Register at Davis-Monthan Aviation Field, the first municipal aviation field in the United States. “I think...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force earns majority of federal energy awards

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) — It’s a banner year for the Air Force with the Department of Energy recently announcing that service won a lion’s share of 2014 Federal Energy Management Program awards. The Air Fo...
 
 

Nominees sought for Joan Orr spouse, Verne Orr ward

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Air Force Personnel Center officials are now accepting nominations for the 2015 Air Force Association Joan Orr Air Force Spouse of the Year Award and the 2015 AFA Verne Orr Award. The Joan Orr award honors significant contributions made by non-military spouses of Air Force military members. The...
 
 

Airmen encouraged to vote, obey AFI on political activities

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — As the political season approaches, we should all be encouraged to do our civic duty and go out and vote. However, as an Air Force member, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here is a short noninclusive list to help you determine what is or is...
 




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