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 Chris Drzazgowski)

Memorial Day weekend safety tips

Memorial Day weekend is coming up, for most service members that means getting on the road and traveling for the first long weekend of the summer. During this holiday weekend more people will be traveling, which makes it import...
 
 

Peer-to-peer service aims to provide counseling support

WASHINGTON – Starting this summer, the Defense Department will offer an additional counseling service to help military service members, transitioning troops and family members deal with a host of issues before they become crises. Peer-to-peer support, which will be available through Military OneSource, will offer assistance from counselors who have at least a master’s degree...
 
 

Honest answers to sexual assault myths

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — As Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month comes to a close, I want to take the opportunity to address three persistent myths regarding the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program. These myths include a commander’s ability to start, stop or otherwise hinder a sexual assault investigation; what agencies can...
 

 
Donor_pict

Military spouse seeks donor for kidney transplant

Looking at Tawanna Clapp you wouldn’t guess that she spends 21 hours a week on dialysis. Tawanna was diagnosed with focal glomerulosclerosis, FSGS, in 1996 during a routine physical for college. According to the National Kidn...
 
 

Enroll newborns in TRICARE within 60 days of birth

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Service members are reminded to enroll their newborns into TRICARE within 60 days of birth or 120 days in overseas areas. When newborns are not enrolled within the first 60 days of birth, this can cause claims processing issues and parents incur costly out-of-pocket expenses. Members who want their...
 
 

Tobacco-use AFI changes

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  — Air Force Instruction 40-102, Tobacco Free Living, was recently updated to give Airmen a simplified definition of what is defined as tobacco, as well as additional regulations for smoking in privately owned vehicles. According to the AFI, tobacco includes all products that may be configured to deliver nicotine, including but not...
 




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