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.


 
 

 
af-uav4

Arming the RPAs

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joseph Swafford A1C Matthew Lopez (center), 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron munitions systems technician, builds a GPS-guided GBU-49 bomb at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2015...
 
 
Photo: WoW_pict

Warfighter of the Week: Staff Sgt. Brad Johannes

Photo: WoW_pict Col. Robert Stonemark, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) chief of staff, presents Staff Sgt. Brad Johannes, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) manager of engineering operations, with the Warfighter of the Week certificate dur...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 
FoodBank_pict

Commissary food bank donations top 4 million pounds

FORT LEE, Va. – In a classic case of a crisis creating an opportunity, the government shutdown of 2013 served as a catalyst to revive donations from military commissaries to local food banks, with the stores donating more tha...
 
 
DoD
Equality_pict

Women’s Equality Day commemorates history, bridges future leaders

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, not only commemorates the ratification of the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment — which solidified women’s voting rights — but it also coincides with...
 
 
DoD
ArmyDepot

Army Depot explosion in Japan remains under investigation

WASHINGTON — The cause of an explosion and the resulting large fire at a storage building early today at the Army’s Sagami General Depot in Sagamihara City, Japan, remains under investigation, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt....
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>