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Cyber security: Every Airman’s responsibility

  • Published
  • By Airman Kevin Sommer Giron
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

More than ever before, the world is connected to a vast cyberdomain. The internet touches most aspects of daily life. With one click of a mouse or swipe of a finger, people can access volumes of information available to all users.

This is why it’s imperative for service members and government employees to use their situational awareness when operating within the Department of Defense network, as well as their personal computers.

October is the month to brush up on online safety as it marks the beginning of National Cyber Security Awareness month.

“The purpose of this month is to raise awareness and mitigate the threats we face in cyberspace every day,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Daniel Presland, 19th Communications Squadron commander. “We want Airmen to understand that the actions they take online have implications in the real world and that there are cybercriminals out there.”

Shopping, banking and connecting with loved ones have become normal online activities. As a result, individuals increasingly share more sensitive information that’s highly sought after by cybercriminals – which is why it's critical to secure network connections.

“One way Airmen can increase their cyber awareness is by performing ‘cyber hygiene,’” Presland said. “That means taking care of those easy, but fundamental, aspects of cybersecurity.”

This includes, but is not limited to,

  • Ensuring antivirus software and security patches are up-to-date

  • Not clicking on suspicious links

  • Strengthening passwords

  • Removing common access cards from computers

  • Encrypting emails

  • Configuring privacy settings on social media accounts.  

“Cybercriminals will use any vulnerability that exists on your computer’s software or infrastructure in order to compromise your machine,” Presland said. “By taking those fundamental steps, you are one-step ahead of the adversary.”

The goal is to secure Little Rock Air Force Base’s network and ensure outside threats do not gain access to information that could compromise base security and its resources.

“Everybody has a piece in ensuring the cyberspace domain remains a safe and secure space to operate within,” Presland said. “From the newest Airmen to the highest ranking official, if we don’t take vital steps to make sure everyone understands the threats, then we are at risk of adding to those vulnerabilities.”

Virtually every mission across the range of military operations depends on cybersecurity.

“Just like air, space and land, we must have command and control of cyberspace,” Presland said. “If digital systems are compromised, hacked or brought down, we lose that vital command and control feature across the base meaning we can’t launch aircraft.”

Every time Airmen connect to a cybernetwork, whether at home or at work, decisions are made that affect cybersecurity. From the information Airmen choose to share, to the links they will click, online activities can either enable or prevent cyberattacks and intrusions.

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