JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Anyone who has ever used a computer connected to a government network knows there are hoops to jump through, buttons to acknowledge, and training to conduct to get access, and maintain access to these systems.
Here in U.S. Army Alaska, every time we open an internet window, we acknowledge and accept the terms of service for accessing a government information system that is provided for USG-authorized use only.
We do it so often, it's easy to forget exactly why we do it. Do we do training and click browser buttons, attend training, and certify online after tests so we can maintain access to systems we need to use? Or do we do all of this to make our network a more secure and reliable system?
In our annual cyber awareness training, we not only learn about security on government networks, but also on home networks, cyber awareness doesn't end when you leave work.
"Soldiers need to be aware of who they are communicating with and what they are discussing," said Spc. Isaiah Anderson, an Information Management Officer with USARAK.
"They should never talk about classified information or share passwords with anyone, no matter how long they have known the person they are communicating with." Interactions on social media are important to keep in mind when considering cyber awareness, as well as the overall security level of your home network.
"Having security software like anti-virus on your home computer is very important," Anderson said, "Especially if you do any type of online banking. Attackers can easily slip a multitude of different types of malware on a defenseless computer and cause a great deal of damage."
"As far as updating your security software, I think doing a full scan and updating your computers security software at least once a week would help protect your system greatly," said Anderson.
If you've undergone the annual cyber awareness training recently, you'll remember it harps on a lot of simple things, like making sure you take your smart card with you when you leave your computer.
"Having your smart card on you at all times is a must, because if you leave it just sitting in your keyboard, anyone can just hop onto your computer and perform something malicious and you would never know," Anderson said, "Then that malicious attack would be traced back to you and there would be no way for you to prove your innocence."
For the security of military information networks, leaders need to establish a culture of cyber awareness in the workplace.
"Leaders play a huge role in cyber security," said Anderson, "They can increase awareness within their sections by posting friendly reminders throughout the office, ensuring their soldiers are adhering to network policies, and informing them of the consequences of data intrusions and leakage."
The people who access military networks have direct control over a lot of the damage that can happen to the network, just by proactively following guidelines in cyber awareness training and briefings.
"I look at cyber awareness as a team sport," Anderson said, "We all have a position we play in defending it and keeping it as secure as possible and mitigating any foreign threats that would try and exploit any negligence on our part."