Gone phishing: cyber surety technicians keep watchful eye
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- In a world where technology is always developing and evolving, the 36th Communication Squadron's cyber surety team keeps a watchful eye on any potential communication threats at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
The cyber security specialists ensure base computer systems are in compliance with the Department of Defense and the Air Force computer security policies.
The technician's job is primarily cyber security; if they didn't carry out their job in a timely manner the network on Andersen AFB could be left vulnerable to exploitation. It is the specialist's responsibility to prevent vulnerabilities and protect communications.
During operational readiness exercises, the cyber security team runs incident response plans. Depending on the type of attack, the Airmen will practice defending against phishing attempts, hackers trying to get into the network or unauthorized disclosure of classified material.
For large-scale exercises like Cope North, the cyber surety office certifies areas to allow classified processing. The Airmen make sure authorized users have access to the network and ensure they are conducting good practices and are not causing vulnerabilities.
"One of the rewards in my job is being able to see directly how we affect the mission," said Staff Sgt. Brandon Whittaker, 36th CS cyber surety technician. "If we don't do our job correctly, there would be countless consequences. We would lose our ability to protect communications."
During annual assessments the technicians focus on violations of cyber security policies in various units and ensuring users are in compliance with the regulations the DOD set forth.
"The major discrepancies we find are people being negligent or not knowing the proper policies," Ginete said. "We have educational opportunities so people know what to look out for."
On a monthly basis, the team shares cyber awareness bulletins, but those are only one resource the team uses to educate the base populace on cyber security. The team also tasks information assurance officers as liaisons within each unit. The team conducts monthly training to keep IAOs informed on new practices in the cyber security realm.
The primary purpose of IAOs is to inform their units on changes in cyber security. The cyber surety specialists give the representatives updated information on potential threats to educate users and prevent them from being a victim of phishing attempts or viruses.
"The hardest thing about my job is making sure the information that I give to people is correct," Whittaker said. "Technology is always growing, so as it grows, we will grow. Asking questions, networking and researching helps me stay ahead."