Threatening our network

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Charles
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office
(Editors Note: This is part of a series about Network security and preventative measures at Nellis and Creech Air Force Base). Most military service members unconsciously have the same routine within the first 10 minutes of walking into their office each morning; check their e-mail, check their voicemails and check the office mail for any vital piece of information that may have come into the office overnight. 

What do all these actions have in common? 

They are all part of our Nellis and Creech communications system. 

Communications through the military Global Information Grid and the military telecommunications systems play vital roles in accomplishing the mission not only at a base level, but Air Force wide. Because of the importance of our communication systems, it is vital each member play a role in keeping the systems secure. 

"With all the evolving threats to our systems, it is important we take every step possible in maintaining our network security," said Lt. Col. Michael Dawson, 99th Communications Squadron commander. "In the past our men and women in the CS ensured that a lot of the operations we take for granted were working and protected. Now, with the ever changing threat in cyberspace, we need everybody who uses the network to do their part in being vigilant for things they deem hazardous to our operation security." 

With more than one million people using the Global Information Grid every day, it is important to put systems in place that protect the network from the malicious viruses and malware that attack it on an annual basis. These systems help with network security however without user cooperation it's not possible to completely secure the network. 

Nearly five million e-mails are transferred through the grid every month. Of those, 70 percent are identified as spam. The Air Force is working with commercial companies that create filters to block spam in order to help block these three million flagged e-mails every month. 

Because of the Air Force's objective to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace, terrorist have decided to attack us in ways they haven't in the past according to Colonel Dawson. 

Recently Team Nellis and Creech began blocking unknown sites in response to a malicious virus called the Conficker worm. The Conficker worm is a "bot" program that infects computers and gets instructions from a controller program. Many hackers use this virus as a way to steal identities and sensitive information. The Conficker worm has been around since November 2008 and is known to disable anti-virus software, trick security software into thinking it has current updates, and adapt to defeat countermeasures. 

"The more preventative measures we create against these cyberspace terrorists the more they try to find ways to break them," Colonel Dawson said. "Network security should be Team Nellis first priority, especially since without it our radars, phone lines and even our unmanned aerial system, would be compromised."