October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Entering into October, the annual campaign to raise awareness about cybersecurity begins.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives. The observation is also designed to raise awareness about cybersecurity, provide tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. The federal government and private sectors have experienced significant cyber incidents covering a span of several years.

To combat these increasingly severe incidents, President Obama issued Presidential Policy Directive 41: United States Cyber Incident Coordination. This directive codified lessons learned from previous cyber incidents and called for a National Cyber Incident Response Plan that defined a nationwide approach to handle cyber incidents and outline the roles of both federal and non-federal entities.

Cyber security is a shared responsibility that begins and ends with the individual. It is critical to learn how to protect and safeguard Air Force information systems and personally identifiable information from adversaries. The Department of Homeland Security offers numerous tips, training, and resources to aid in bringing cyber security to the forefront of our day-to-day operations.

Below are tool-kit items to incorporate daily to protect PII and information systems:

1. Social media: Be aware of what is posted online. No matter what social media platform used, always consider the type of information shared.
- Remember, there is no delete button on the Internet
- Think before posting, because within an instant of posting it’s visible to others
- Do not allow social media platforms to track locations
- Connect only with known and trusted people

2. Steps to prevent identity theft and online scams:
- When in doubt, throw out links in emails, tweets, posts and online advertising that solicit personal or work information
- Make passwords strong by utilizing eight or more characters, including numbers, letters and symbols
- Try to avoid using bank or personal accounts on public computers or public Wi-Fi networks
- Use websites that offer encrypted browsers when shopping online

3. Actions to improve security in the work place:
- Ensure unclassified information systems are restarted, but not powered off each and every day to receive patches and vital updates
- Ensure Common Access Cards and classified system tokens are not left unattended in work computers
- Know how to properly report and respond to viruses, network attacks, classified message incidents, suspicious email and spam

4. How to protect PII in the work place:
- Know when emails should be digitally signed and encrypted. Reference Air Force Instruction 33-332, Air Force Privacy and Civil Liberties Program
- Know who to notify in case of a privacy breach or incident. All incidents of lost, stolen or possibly compromised PII must be reported immediately
- PII accessible through SharePoint or similar web-based applications must be properly safeguarded so that only individuals who have an official need-to-know may gain access to the information
- Remove any PII on SharePoint or similar web-based applications, when no longer needed for daily operations
- Use Air Force Form 3227, Privacy Act Cover Sheets. Usage is mandatory to prevent unauthorized viewing

Everyone must continually do their part to make sure that their online identity and work places are kept safe and secure. Everyone is in this together and it will take all of Team Goodfellow to reduce human error and encourage cybersecurity best practices in the workplace, home and community. Be an injector towards promoting a safer, more productive digital experience; that’s what National Cyber Security Awareness Month is all about.

For additional information on National Cyber Security Awareness Month, visit the Department of Homeland Security website at www.dhs.gov.

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