Cybersecurity Awareness Month message to Airmen

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21st century warfare has quickly extended beyond the traditional domains of air, space, land, and sea. Cyberspace has emerged as the latest domain. From fuel pumps on the flight line, GPS links on weapons platforms, to the computer on your desk – every system that operates in and through cyberspace represents a vulnerability to the domain. So how do we protect the data, systems, and people who rely on cyberspace?

YOU are the first line of defense! Every time you log onto a system, retrieve data from a device, click on a link, or save a file, you must practice cyber hygiene: strong passwords, consistent cybersecurity practices, and unwavering vigilance against “phishing” attempts. Nobody is immune to cyberattack attempts. Since December 2013, there have been no fewer than seven major breaches affecting nearly 430 million records (i.e., social security number, health records, names, birthdates, addresses, etc.). In a recent report from the Defense Cyber Crime Center, 76% of cyberattacks in 2014 were attributed to phishing attempt (attachments and links from unknown sources).

Other studies have shown 85% of previous network intrusions could have been prevented with basic defense hygiene. Doing your part not only helps secure the domain and the missions reliant on cyberspace, but also “reduces the noise” thus improving the ability for our Cyberspace Operators to find the sophisticated and stealthy threats.

The USAF must continue to adopt ad promote a culture of cybersecurity. As we focus on cybersecurity this month, help establish and enforce this mindset for yourself and your workplace. Use this as an opportunity to improve cyber hygiene and defense well beyond this month so we can continue to support and defend our great nation across every domain.

Please join me in doing your part to secure the cyberspace domain, to provide mission assurance across the Air Force in support of the Joint fight.