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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which raises awareness about the vital role cybersecurity plays in American citizen’s personal and professional lives. Airmen are reminded to perform their due diligence when setting passwords on personal and government devices, as well as staying current on their annual cyber security awareness training. (U.S. Air Force courtesy graphic)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which raises awareness about the vital role cybersecurity plays in the personal and professional lives of American citizens.

NCSAM is a collaborative effort between the Department of Homeland Security and its public and private partners, including the National Cyber Security Alliance.

“On some level, everyone has something to protect or a need to keep something private,” said Tech. Sgt. Bradley Pike, 50th Space Communication Squadron section chief of network operations. “No one wants their personal information to be hijacked by some would-be impersonator.”

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, cybercrime is estimated to have cost the world almost $600 billion in losses, with nearly two-thirds of online users having had their personal data stolen or compromised.

Pike said there are often far-reaching personal and professional consequences when privacy is breached.

“No organization wants their research and development data or their special/unique recipe to be leaked,” he said. “The cost to an organization could cripple them overnight. The cost to a person, both emotionally and physically, is often incalculable. We all innately hide things that are important to us, and this month cyber professionals can give back to the community and offer those tools and tricks that allow us to be safer on the web.”

According to Pike, cybersecurity is particularly important at Schriever Air Force Base.

“We have both people and mission to protect,” he said. “We need to protect our Airmen and families so we can continue to fight for America. We need to protect Schriever's assets, techniques, tactics and procedures that give us those cutting edge capabilities our enemies fear. Each of us needs to do just a little more to continue to deter our adversaries whether they’re in air, space, or cyberspace.”

According to Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Lee, 50th Space Wing cybersecurity office noncommissioned officer in charge, there are things people can do to bolster their cyber security, such as changing default usernames and passwords to personal devices.

Another way is to create a passphrase, he said. The traditional thinking was making a password 15 digits long with a combination of letters, numbers and specials characters would make it strong. Unfortunately, that only made passwords difficult to remember.

“If your favorite book is Harry Potter, you might throw a phrase together like HarryHermioneRonPotterGrangerWeasley,” he added. “That phrase is 36 characters long, which is easy to remember, yet hard to crack due to its length.”

Airmen are required to take an annual cyber awareness challenge course on the Advanced Distributed Learning System in order maintain access to the Air Force network.


“The training highlights some very important aspects of being cyber aware,” Lee said. “The unfortunate part about entities being hacked is the majority of hacks happen because of people on the inside. All it takes is one employee to click on the link from a phishing email they received, and now your entire system is potentially compromised.”

Lee added it is critical people take the training seriously and apply the lessons learned in the course.

“Unless people take the training serious and really pay attention, we will always be the biggest security risk to a system,” he said. “That’s why it is imperative individuals don’t just click through the training, but pay attention and learn how to protect not only their own personal network, but our networks as well.”

Lee concluded by emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity in the sustainment of Schriever AFB’s critical missions.

“With our adversaries everywhere trying to deny, degrade and disrupt our critical missions, there has never been a better time to increase our cyber awareness,” he said. “From the highest echelon to the lowest, it is imperative that we do everything that we can to make certain that our networks stay secure.”

The following are a list of .gov websites where people can access resources to help keep them cyber secure.

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas
https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/NCSAM_GeneralToolkit_final.pdf
https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/cyber/news
https://www.nist.gov/blogs/taking-measure/easy-ways-build-better-p5w0rd
https://pages.nist.gov/800-63-3/sp800-63b.html#appA
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