Network security, information assurance - Everyone plays a part

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jason Mayne
  • 509th Communications Squadron acting commander
"We think we have pretty good control of our sensitive information, both with respect to intelligence and the equipment systems. But we, like everybody else, are under attack. Banks are under attack. Every country is under attack." - Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates

The traditional physical domain is not the only borderline for defending information. New computing technologies are bringing productivity to new heights, but also presenting various computer vulnerabilities and security requirements. There is greater pressure -- on the cyberspace system, client support and functional system administrators, and civilians to meet the demands of securing the base network-both in terms of service delivery and security challenges. New solutions are continuously being created and tested to protect borderless networks without sacrifice or impediment to the mission.

The men and women at Whiteman share personal information daily. Names, Social Security numbers, and mailing addresses are all exchanged, stored, and transmitted through the base network. The 509th Communications Squadron secures the local network, thus eliminating the tedious and frustrating process for reclaiming your identity. With a secure network, Whiteman can focus on its mission instead of worrying about identity theft.

The network is kept secure by updating virus definitions, restricting user access, blocking websites, updating software vulnerabilities and by requiring all users to change their password regularly. Centralized control is a must to ensure these measures are taken and that is why we have our Network Control Center and Information Assurance Office. However, the level of network security we have is ultimately determined by each and every member at Whiteman. You are always a vulnerability to network security, even when you leave the Spirit Gate.

Last month, an operation in Israel by the Israel Defense Forces to infiltrate a village in Gaza had to be canceled. The reason, because one man, decided to post information about the upcoming operation on Facebook. Social network sites are powerful tools for gathering information. You wouldn't walk into a restaurant and make announcements about your personal and work life in front of everyone, but that is exactly what you are doing on these websites. You may also think you aren't releasing any valuable information, but when enough pieces to the puzzle are collected, a picture forms. Whether you are logged onto an official government computer or a personal computer, you must be aware that everything is interlinked and information can travel anywhere at the speed of light.

So, trust the 509th CS when we ask you to log off your computer and leave it turned on before you leave work. Trust us when we tell you that certain files cannot be sent as attachments; we'll provide you a work around. If your computer has been quarantined, there is a good reason behind it. And never forget, you are always on parade.