Wing Puts Focus on Cyber Security

  • Published
  • By Technical Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen across the 127th Wing and around the world are putting an increased emphasis on information security as the Air Force works to maintain command and control of the Cyberspace domain. 

"The computer and information networks are part of the tools that we use in our war fighting mission," said Technical Sgt. James Snyder, network manager at the 127th Communications Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. "We need to maintain security of our information systems just as we maintain security over our aircraft and weapons systems." 

While a memory stick from home may not seem like a dangerous weapon, the Air Force's senior leadership is clearly putting a priority on ensuring an American victory in cyberspace. 

"Our enemies are attacking our network, the same network (people) use to send e-mails, share documents and access the Internet," Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz, Air Education and Training Command commander, wrote in a December commentary. "They are using stealth and surprise to insert malicious code into our network in order to gain intelligence. What is our enemy's intention? We don't know, but it's not friendly." 

To ensure that cyber security is maintained, the Air Force and 127th Wing have implemented strict controls on the use of various types of flash memory drives, social media web sites, e-mail and related items and operations. 

"Bringing in things from home on a memory stick, you just don't know what you could be introducing into the network -- something could come in from the outside and provide a hole into our network," he said, explaining the reason that such equipment has been strictly limited. 

According to Snyder, the Wing has hundreds of computer work stations located in dozens of locations around Selfridge. With so many computers in operation, it is imperative that the base's personnel follow the appropriate security procedures to maintain information security. 

Snyder said the Information Protection training program, which all personnel are required to take on an annual basis, provides the foundation for all computer security. 

"It addresses the computer operations that most people deal with on a daily basis," he said. "If you follow the steps in that training, you're going to help tighten our security. 

Air Force Cyber Command recently issued these guidelines to further ensure information security is maintained:

Cyber Threats:
- Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook can contain malicious content and where personal information is easily gathered 

- Phishing emails are legitimate-looking emails used to gain personal information like financial information (i.e., bank accounts, credit cards) or install malicious software on your computer. This code can steal information and/or give others 'remote control' of your computer and all of its data

How to Protect the Mission and Yourself:
- Don't open email attachments or embedded links from people you do not know. Recognize "spoofed" e-mail: designed to look like it's from people you know but is actually malicious. When in doubt, do not open or click 

- NEVER post sensitive information or provide it to strangers; safeguard personal, unit, and mission information at all times 

- Don't use flash memory devices (USB thumb drives, MP3 players) on DoD computers and follow strict procedures for moving data from one computer to another. USB thumb drives can contain malicious code and install it on other computers without your knowledge 

- Keep your home anti-virus up-to-date

Additional Resources:
Cyber Security Training Brief:
https://wwwd.my.af.mil/afknprod/ASPs/docman/DOCMain.asp?Tab=0&FolderID=
AF-OP-00-26-5&Filter=AF-OP-00-26