Cyber Awareness Week focuses on network, personal security, other issues

By Karl Weisel (USAG Wiesbaden)October 23, 2012

Cyber Awareness Week focuses on network, personal security, other issues
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WIESBADEN, Germany - While the nation has focused on keeping computer users safe during National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, 5th Signal Command brought that message home during their Cyber Awareness Week.


The week, which included a Junior Development Seminar and an educator's forum, also drew a host of industry representatives together for a Cyber Technology Showcase in the Tony Bass Fitness Center Oct. 10-11.


"A partnership with industry is very important," said Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, commander of the 5th Signal Command, in welcoming visitors to the Cyber Technology Showcase.


Pointing out that no one person or organization can successfully combat the threat of cyber attack, the "challenge of dealing with the cyber issue" is a shared responsibility that requires contributions from partners in the industry, Crawford said. "We need to work together to develop the types of technologies that we need to tackle some of these problems."


Crawford stressed that it's vitally important for military and industry to work together to "develop specific goals and solutions."


"If anyone thinks they can do it on their own, they're mistaken," he added.


"We all have the ability to make a much safer environment in which we can work in," said 5th Signal Command's Lt. Col. Ivory Freeman, event coordinator, pointing out that the Department of Homeland Security sponsors the annual month-long observance to make everyone more aware of the dangers lurking in cyberspace.


"Anytime we have an opportunity to talk about cyber security with our military partners is vastly important," said John Winters, district sales manager for Symantac. "It's real easy to forget about the tip of the spear over here. The latest products and capabilities need to be understood over here as well."


Winters said people need to take into account that staying safe online means staying safe both at work and at home. "It's a broadening threatscape, rather than getting smaller," he said.


"Attacks on networks, both from the outside and inside, continue to evolve," said Paul Vout, director of Cyber Security Solutions with LTI DataComm. "As information flow becomes more prevalent, the risk factors are greater than ever."


Working together and thinking outside of the box are crucial, Vout said. "We find that the ability to respond to new threats is really the key. You can't protect yourself against something you don't know about yet. … Everyone has data they need to protect."


Users need to always consider exactly where they will be traveling online and how to safely get to their destination, the signal experts said, stressing the "Stop, Think and Connect" concept. Stop: Before using the Internet take time to understand the risks and learn to spot potential problems; Think: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how online actions could impact one's personal (or family's) safety; and Connect: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing all steps were taken to safeguard one's self and computer.


"That really is a great way to think about it," said Vout. "Really it's the simple things that are ignored." Ensuring virus protection systems are up to date, all Windows updates have been made and "just being careful" not to open unknown links or share personal information online with non-trusted sites are simple steps everyone can take.


During the week some 30 junior leaders from around Europe spent three days training together in Wiesbaden to learn more about such topics as mentorship, social media, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and ethics.


The week also featured an educator's forum giving 5th Signal Command members from various communities an opportunity to share experiences, needs and lessons learned regarding deployments and other factors impacting military youths in local Department of Defense Dependents Schools. Local principals, counselors and Chris Thomas, the Heidelberg District Teacher of the Year, discussed the unique stresses on military children and how DoDDS works with the local community to ensure children always have an open ear and available assistance.


"Thank you for what you do for all of us every day," said Crawford in concluding the educator's forum.


Related Links:

5th Signal Command website

Herald Union Online