Interview on security

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Protect the message, protect the mission

by Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon
18th Wing Public Affairs

10/24/2007 – KADENA AIR BASE, Japan — U.S. adversaries constantly attack Department of Defense computer systems and countering their efforts is everyone’s responsibility, particularly here at Kadena Air Base — the Air Force’s largest combat wing.
Computer users who neglect established security procedures and communicate carelessly can adversely impact the Kadena AB mission and also cause other unknown repercussions.
“Just keep in mind that information is collected by adversaries daily,” said Airman 1st Class Thomas Schaefer, 18th Communications Squadron information assurance specialist. “That is a well known fact.”
Computer security and protecting military information is everyone’s responsibility.
“Our adversaries want to know exactly what you know,” said Airman Schaefer. “Our goal is to not let them.”
Protecting information includes awareness not just on the job but also at home, said the Airman. Individuals should ask themselves what they can do to prevent divulging information.
Security awareness is a 24-hour responsibility, but not a difficult one. Very simple measures can be taken to prevent from compromising information, such as logging off computers and not discussing sensitive work details in public, including via unofficial e-mail, personal Web pages, etc.
All information flowing through military networks, whether it’s sent through wire, telephone or paper, must be guarded. Adversaries “phish” in an attempt to collect private information.
“These ‘phishing’ individuals will try to collect your personal information by whatever means possible,” said Airman Schaefer.
Kadena Airmen must keep in mind what they’re doing, what they’re clicking on, what they’re viewing, e-mail wise or through the Web, said the Airman.
Computer users should also know that when logging onto the non-secure internet protocol router — NIPR — net, all actions are monitored and logged by the local network control center … and also by adversaries of the U.S. Kadena is under one internet protocol address range, making it easy to see every individual’s internet trends.
“You think that information is private, well it’s really not,” said Airman Schaefer. “It’s publicly available to anyone who wants to see what we are doing.”
The 18th CS sends e-mails constantly to raise computer security awareness and to warn of the repercussions of not doing so, said Airman Schaefer.
“We need to educate everybody,” he said, “to make sure everyone understands computer security and information security so that the worse case scenario – compromising the mission due to the divulging of sensitive information – does not become a reality.”