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 50th Space Communications Squadron
50th SCS focuses on info assurance

Posted 12/15/2006   Updated 12/27/2006 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Don Branum
50th Space Wing Public Affairs

12/15/2006 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Information assurance is increasingly important in today's Air Force, which is charged with fighting in the air, space and cyberspace domains, the 50th Space Communications Squadron commander said during an information systems security officer meeting Dec. 14.

"The work that you are doing is critical," Lt. Col. Donovan Routsis said. "Our (computer) network is a weapons system."

Air Force Space Command will inspect Schriever's information assurance program from Jan. 29 to Feb. 9.

"Unaccredited systems will hurt everyone," said Master Sgt. Bryan Gunderson, Chief of 50th SW computer security. Any unaccredited system will be considered a critical failure for the entire wing.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is charged with ensuring only accredited systems operate the network and will disconnect non-compliant organizations, Colonel Routsis said.

Hank Brinlee, 50th SW IA Office chief, discussed a new threat to computer and operational security known as "spear phishing." Instead of normal phishing e-mails that seek Social Security numbers or other personal information, spear phishers go after operational information.

The Air Force Network Operations Center will roll out a strategy to help counteract spear phishing and viruses, which can be embedded in HTML-format messages. Beginning Dec. 16, e-mail clients on Schriever will display incoming messages as text only by default.

The change will prevent viruses from automatically launching and will disable links to phishing Web sites. Users can still convert messages to HTML format but should only convert e-mails from trusted sources.

"These actions will improve network security by reducing our exposure to phishing attempts," according to 50th SCS' internal Web site.

Mr. Brinlee also asked for ISSOs' help in making sure everyone's information assurance computer-based training is up-to-date. People who have registered for the class should make sure their organization is correct in their profile.

"If we have people out there who are registered under AFSPC, that actually counts against us," he said.

The Air Force will also require ISSOs to acquire a certification such as A+ or Security+ based on their technical or management levels, Sergeant Gunderson said. ISSOs who were appointed after the rules on certification took effect must get certified within six months. Those who were in the position previously have four years to get certified.

The Telecommunications Monitoring Assessment Program has been split into a separate additional duty from ISSOs. Units must send TMAP point-of-contact appointment letters to 50th SCS before Jan. 12.

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