Cyber Warriors

  • Published
  • By Brian Brown
  • 17th Communications Squadron
When we hear the term "Cyber Warrior" some may envision a room full of computers with wall-to-wall geeks proudly sitting in front of their computers thrashing out scores of binary code, focused on saving the world's network from certain doom and defending us against the evil 'Hackers of Endor', or something like that.

The reality is that each and every user on our networks is a "Cyber Warrior." It would be impossible to maintain our security posture and operational status without the constant vigilance and assistance from all the members of the Goodfellow domain. Although we may have different roles and responsibilities in cyberspace, each user is on the front line, responsible for protecting our computer systems and networks by following established procedures. No one is exempt from this duty.

I can't tell you how many times I have been told that unless we allow someone to use thumb drives, the world will stop spinning and we will all be cast into the nearest black hole. After carefully testing this theory in a controlled environment, our team of technicians determined with a 99.9 percent probability that this scenario is false.

We recently had an event where a member used a thumb drive to copy a file on to a server. What this user did not know is that his thumb drive was infected with a virus. When the file was copied, a worm jumped into the server's root file structure and then propagated itself back out to several other workstations. The server with the infected file structure contained training materials and the virus would have eventually wiped out years of courseware development. It could have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild and replace that courseware. As it turned out, we were able to save the courseware files, rebuild the damaged structure and keep the training mission going. This time we were lucky to find the worm before the damage was completely done, preventing a major training deficiency.

The bottom line is that a single vulnerability on one computer is a shared vulnerability for the entire network. As many of you know, we are no longer just part of Goodfellow's network, but rather members of a much larger Air Force Global Information Grid. The inconvenience caused by some of these restrictions, rules and configurations are a small price to pay for the overall dependability and security of the grid.

The established procedures that you follow at work will also serve you at home. By using the same security practices that we use on our network, you can safeguard your family's home network, computers, finances and identity. Remember; do not open strange or unexpected emails, do not participate in suspicious offers and do not give out your identity information to strange companies on the internet. Signing up for something free on the internet, such as an I-phone "Bapple", could cost you everything.

Here are some surprising recent United States statistics:
1. Every eight seconds someone falls victim to identity theft.
2. Over $235 million were scammed off individuals last year.
3. At least seven 'major' cyber crimes are successful every six hours.
- These are crimes against banks, financial institutions and corporations involving more
than $100,000 in losses (this is where your paycheck goes!).
4. More than half of the money stolen through Cyberspace went to sources outside the U.S.

I know that these statistics are daunting but together we can prevent these types of occurrences from destroying the Air Force network. I greatly appreciate the outstanding job you all do every day and it is truly an honor to serve with the best 'Cyber Warriors' in the world!