The importance of cybersecurity

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U.S. Air Force illustration by Senior Airman Adarius Petty

October is cyber security awareness month and members are advised to stay mindful about what they say and post on social networks. In recent years military members and their families have faced dangers due to information leaked on social media.

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.—In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is just as important as maintaining physical security.

Essentially, cybersecurity is a collection of practices, processes and technologies designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. By definition, cybersecurity is pertinent to protecting secrets and personal information.

“Cybersecurity is important for the DoD because nearly 100 percent of day-to-day operations are completed on some type of information system,” said Master Sgt. Jose, 432nd Wing Advanced Programs Information Systems security manager. “Those information systems contain information from social security numbers to our nation’s highest secrets. They need to be well protected against daily vulnerabilities that try to exploit them.”

The Air Force and DOD has processes in place to prevent enemies the access of information while also breaking cybersecurity into three different parts.

“CS is seen as a whole: the people who are employed, the technology the Air Force employs and the way they execute their operations,” Jose said. Security is accomplished in three different ways: in people, through user awareness training; in technology, through anti-virus software; in operations, through appropriated classifications.

In 2010, according to then Commander U.S. Cyber Command Army Gen. Keith Alexander, DOD systems are probed approximately 250,000 times an hour and over six million times a day.

This is why it’s critical Airmen maintain proper cybersecurity to ensure mission success. If carelessness leads to information spillage, the enemy will know where friendly forces will be, and how to attack our nation and coalition partners.

Cybersecurity isn’t limited to the military or businesses. It should be used with your personal banking accounts, computer and social media applications.

“Everyone has information systems, from cell phones to the work stations at your home to the Xbox connected to the internet as well,” Jose said. “It’s very important to make sure that your home is just as protected. New threats are coming out every single day. Your personal information is very valuable to someone.”

Personal information such as your address, social security number and banking information can be used to open credit cards, drain accounts and destroy credit. Also, job titles, military grade and clearance levels can put military members at risk for terrorist targeting.

• Use strong passwords and don’t share them
• Don’t accept mail or friends who are unfamiliar to you
• Close and log out of accounts
• Update security software, and set social media accounts to private

These are just a few tips to protect identities and finances.

For more information on keeping personal information safe, visit https://staysafeonline.org & https://www.lockdownyourlogin.com. For questions regarding military cybersecurity protocols, contact the unit cybersecurity liaison or communications office.