Cyber security depends on vigilance

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Whenever browsing the web, checking social media updates or looking through emails, Airmen should be vigilant for cyber security threats.

"Awareness is important," said Jason Steed, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 805 special agent. "Anyone who posts information on any social media platform needs to be aware that the information about themselves online could create a potential problem, if it's in the wrong hands."

Warren's AFOSI Det. 805 handles a variety of investigations to protect the base populous. Their main focus when dealing with cyber threats is prevention. Letting people know the threat is real goes a long way toward this goal.

"The key to prevention is creating a culture of awareness when it comes to personal vulnerabilities online." Steed said. "If we receive reports from Airmen who say, 'This has been happening to me,' we'll forward them to the appropriate agencies and we track trends we see locally."

When a security threat becomes a possibility, those involved should take action and follow the proper measures to ensure the least amount of damage is done. If someone suspects blackmail or they believe their finances have been compromised they should immediately take action before the situation worsens.

"Many banking institutions and other organizations require a police report," said Bryce Stringer AFOSI Det. 805 special agent. "That's why it's a good idea to report it to local law enforcement as soon as possible."

"Good cyber security habits help prevent embarrassment and damage to personal lives. It's important to not provide information that you may regret, be potentially embarrassing, or you wouldn't normally provide." Stringer said.

Being cautious can greatly reduce the chances of falling into a trap. Some threats are easy to spot, others can be well hidden.

Phishing is a type of scam in which the email is designed to trick the recipient into providing personal or confidential information. Along with OSI, the wing Cyber Security Office is available to help Airmen with information on preventing personnel cyber security risks.

"Some emails don't look like phishing emails at first glance, so you have to investigate further to find out," said 90th Communications Squadron Senior Airman Nathan Sievers,. "Cyber security liaisons have more experience and know what to look for.

"Many times people know these things, but they just don't put it into practice," Sievers said. "An effective way for people to be safe from cyber threats is to use good critical thinking skills. Don't act first and think later."

Squadrons looking to brief their Airmen on cyber awareness can call AFOSI Det. 805 at 773-1852.

"We are always willing to heighten unit awareness here," Stringer said. "Our briefings are designed to help prevent cyber incidents."