WIESBADEN, Germany -- October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and marks the kickoff of the yearlong Army Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign. The Army campaign is designed to increase readiness through improving awareness of cyber threats and incidents as well as their impact to Army missions. The Cybersecurity Awareness efforts also highlight how Soldiers and Civilians need to respond in order to safeguard the Army.

Nic Hall, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade information systems security manager, provides some useful information for Soldiers, Civilians, local national employees or other authorized users on government computers or networks.

1. Secure your Common Access Card, or CAC, at all times. Keep it safe on your person and be sure to remove it from your computer each time you leave your workstation.

2. Passwords. Create a strong password of at least 15 characters with upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Memorize your password, don't write down anywhere.

"There's a lot of complexity when choosing your password, depending on the site. Think of a phrase you can remember, then add some special characters and numbers," Hall said.

3. Watch out for phishing attacks. These attacks use a variety of sophisticated means to try and obtain sensitive information such as your date of birth, social security number, banking information, or usernames and passwords. Hall recommends to look carefully at the digital signature and the domain from where the email is coming to determine if it is from a trusted source or not.

4. If you see something, say something. Don't forward suspicious emails to anyone else, don't download any documents and don't click on any links.

"When you get an email that you think is suspicious, it could be a phishing attack or spam attack, what you need to do is notify your cybersecurity and provide us a copy of the email," Hall said.

5. Annual training. Users need to continuously educate themselves, such as through annual cyber awareness and information assurance training.

"You can have a perfect (cybersecurity) plan in place, but if your users are not educated and don't understand the technology they work with, then they will constantly leave themselves and the organization vulnerable to cyberattacks," Hall said.

For more information contact your unit information assurance, cybersecurity division, or S-6/G-6 section.

Editor's note: This is the first in a three-part series on Cybersecurity Awareness Month best practices for Army computer and network users in Europe.

---

2nd Theater Signal Brigade conducts Department of Defense Information Network operations to enable mission command in support of U.S. Army, Joint and multinational operations throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of operation.