By Todd Pruden, U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering CommandFebruary 10, 2012
Don't feed the hackers!
You can handle the shredding!
These are the catch-phrases of two award-winning posters members of the U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command Operations team developed in order to raise operational security awareness.
Diana Reyna, ISEC operations officer, and Master Sgt. Jose Hurtado, ISEC Operations noncommissioned officer in charge, have won back-to-back Army OPSEC Multimedia Print Awards (Poster Competition) for the ideas and creativity they put into an OPSEC poster campaign. The push to create these OPSEC notices is intended to remind Army and federal employees to use diligence when handling sensitive items.
"OPSEC awareness is the purpose of the campaign," said Reyna. "The problem was people were just throwing sensitive information into the trash without shredding it, so our purpose was to come up with something to remind them that they should shred."
That was the backbone to this year's contest winner, and the idea was taken from the movie "A Few Good Men." The poster features the likes of Jack Nicholson's character in a courtroom, pointing at the reader with a slightly altered quote from the movie.
"We wanted to keep it simple; a one-liner," Reyna said. "When you put a poster up that has a lot of stuff on it, people won't read it. But, if you've got a one-liner, it … conveys the message."
The Operations team's hope is that this year's poster will ultimately win an Interagency OPSEC Support Staff award, which is the top level OPSEC campaign competition within the federal government. The team won last year's Department of the Army award, but was not forwarded to the IOSS level.
"Winning the IOSS would mean a lot, because that's all federal," said Reyna. "Hopefully, it can happen this year."
Reyna and Hurtado were not tasked to develop the campaign. They took the initiative to seek out an effective and economical way to inform ISEC employees, with the possibility of boosting the command's visibility within the federal community and winning an award.
"I'm proud of them. It's an initiative that they did on their own," said Carey Luse, ISEC Operations chief. "Obviously, you try to foster that kind of attitude in your employees, but this is something that they took ownership of."
Last year's entry had personal meaning for Reyna. She said that she came up with the idea after her sister told her a story about how her boyfriend left his computer on and his email open on his laptop while he had stepped away.
"She said she had to go in there and see his emails," Reyna said.
Reyna used the metaphoric basis of an addict's addiction to come up with the idea. She said that leaving a computer on with email open is like someone with an addiction needing to fulfill their cravings, and one can't resist the urge to take a peek at someone else's files, just as an addict needs to fulfill their urges. She said it was like a drug for hackers.
"The IP addresses and stuff, they can't resist it," Reyna said. "And so, that gave us the idea of hacker candy."
Considering the Operations team has won the Department of the Army contest two years in a row, the team feels it has built the momentum to add to their success in the future and to heighten OPSEC awareness within the command.
"It just shows how the command supports the OPSEC program that we have in place," said Hurtado. "It's a good feeling because that shows that we know what we're doing as far as operational security awareness, and it feels great to be a part of the team."
Luse agreed. He said that the campaign will continue and that the team will annually submit their entries for consideration.
"This is something that is incorporated into our battle rhythm now, so every year we are going to submit an entry," Luse said. "Hopefully, it will follow the same trend. We plan to keep winning. Win or lose, we're still going to continue to do this every year."