HomeNewsArticle Display

Tool to safeguard PII scheduled for AF-wide December rollout

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- The Digital Signature Enforcement Tool is scheduled for Air Force-wide integration Dec. 5, providing Microsoft Outlook email users with an interactive, automated virtual assistant to help ensure the security of personally identifiable information.

“I can’t overstate the operational importance of preventing PII breaches,” said Maj. Gen. B. Edwin Wilson, the commander of 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber. “It’s not an IT problem, it’s a total-force problem, and DSET is an effective tool the total force can use, right now, to help reduce inadvertent PII breaches.”

Beyond potential identity theft, PII breaches can lead to significant compromises in operational security. For example, a well-meaning member working to meet an operational deadline sends an unencrypted email, containing PII on several unit members, to a “non .mil” email account.

The sender could be attempting to get ahead on a project or be providing a status update to unit members on pending unit movements.
Unknown to the sender, hackers have compromised email transport infrastructure between the sender’s desktop and one of the destination, “non .mil” desktops. Hackers intercepting this unencrypted email traffic can utilize the newly acquired personal information to form specifically targeted attacks, known as spear phishing, to acquire additional information such as account numbers or passwords.

Unfortunately, the attack does not stop there. Once an attacker has acquired enough information, he can simulate user accounts or even pass off communications on behalf of the service member, who is likely still unaware that his information has been compromised. Those false communications could be leveraged to gain digital access to Air Force systems, or even physical access to installations and personnel. Obviously, the negative implications caused by PII breaches are severe, and equipping the force with tools to mitigate the risk is paramount.

DSET version 1.6.1, an updated version of the DSET 1.6.0 software already in use by the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air Force Space Command, contains fixes for some previously identified software bugs as well as enhancements to make the digital tool more effective.

“DSET 1.6.0 launched back in July to three major commands,” said Alonzo Pugh, a cyber business system analyst for 24th Air Force.
“Feedback has been overwhelmingly favorable for the use of the tool, and version 1.6.1 is definitely ready for Air Force-wide usage.”

DSET is regarded as a short-term fix to help all Air Force network users protect PII, specifically if that information is to be included in an email communication. DSET 1.6.1 still only scans for PII in the form of social security numbers, leaving overall responsibility on the user to safeguard the sensitive information in all of its forms.

“First, the user should ask him or herself if the PII in the email is truly necessary,” Pugh said. “DSET scans the email draft before transmission. If PII is identified, DSET will notify the user through a series of pop-up windows. This interactivity allows the user to make a conscious decision of how to proceed with the information in question.”

According to Pugh, if the information must be transmitted, encrypting the PII is all that is necessary to protect the data during transmission. DSET will trigger when it detects potential PII in an email, giving the user the opportunity to delete the information if not necessary to the communication, encrypt the information, or override and transmit the email as originally written.

If the file containing PII is already encrypted – through the Microsoft Office “protect” permission feature or some other software – DSET will not trigger and the email can be sent as usual to any recipient’s email address, whether “.mil,” “.com,” etc. However, if the email itself is encrypted through Microsoft Outlook, the communication is only safe to transmit to a recipient’s “.mil” email address. An email encrypted in this fashion cannot be sent to any “non-.mil” addresses. If the user attempts to do so, DSET and Microsoft Outlook will provide pop-up boxes explaining the user’s options.

“I can’t overstress the importance of reading the information in the pop-up box,” Pugh said. “Read the training materials on the use of DSET; read the training slides on how to use Microsoft Office features to encrypt various documents; understand how these tools can help you safeguard PII.”

To prepare for the Air Force-wide release of DSET, you can access training here: 

 - DSET tutorials 

 - DSET Quick Reference Guide

 - Additional training on how to encrypt Microsoft Office documents

Users have multiple tools at their disposal to protect PII if encrypting email is not feasible, but if electronic transmission of sensitive PII is operationally required, users can leverage approved Department of Defense file exchange services at: https://safe.amrdec.army.mil/safe/

More information regarding DSET implementation can be found at: http://www.24af.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123417788

(Information courtesy of 24th Air Force Public Affairs)

Engage

Facebook Twitter
DYK: Aircraft have lifespans! Like humans, they require check-ups in the form of maintenance inspections to prolong their ability to fly. These "checks" prevent in-flight system failures which ultimately protects aircrew and passengers. Learn more from the 86th Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on what it takes to correct issues so aircraft can stay airborne.
WATCH: United States Air Force pilots talk about the importance of Exercise Saber Strike 18 as they refuel over the Baltic Sea on June 18, 2018. Saber Strike 18 is a long-standing training exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and our allies. The training focused on improving land and air operational capabilities between the U.S. and our NATO allies. (U.S. Air National Guard video by: Master Sgt. Wolfram M. Stumpf)
Check out some shots from yesterday's All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game in Washington, D.C. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals U.S. Army
Air Force and U.S. Army coed softball teams render military honors during the playing of the National Anthem during the All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game, Washington, D.C., July 13, 2018. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals
Great way to lead by example!
The United States Air Force is facing a pilot shortage. To help solve the challenge, the Aircrew Crisis Task Force was recently created to provide strategic direction and actionable recommendations to senior leaders on how to solve the aircrew manning crisis. FULL STORY: https://go.usa.gov/xUb3z
Your United States Air Force news: ✓ A B-52 crew assists in a search and rescue operation off the coast of Guam ✓ An Afghan pilot class graduates in the Czech Republic ✓ The Air Force is using innovative approaches to training pilots to make the process faster and more efficient
Now that’s how weathermen work! Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters fly weather reconnaissance missions into Tropical Storm Chris and Tropical Storm Beryl. http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1569944/hurricane-hunters-fly-tropical-storms-beryl-chris/
The F-22 Raptor's combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft. Maintaining these aircraft can involve a bit of a learning curve. Airmen at KadenaAirBase use past technology to help learn how to work with the undefeated Raptor. FULL STORY: http://www.kadena.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1567295/hard-to-raptor-head-around/
Help us out! Can you caption this photo?
The B-52 Stratofortress has sniper pods that provide improved long-range target detection/identification and continuous stabilize surveillance for all missions, including close air support of ground forces. Air Force Global Strike Command crew members on a B-52 were able to spot a historic Pacific Island style canoe so that the U.S. Coast Guard could rescue the six passengers!
For the past 60 years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has continually helped us maintain a technological edge against our advarsaries. Together with the Air Force Research Laboratory - AFRL, a fusion of ideas is leading to newly highlighted innovations.
SOUND ON! Celebrate freedom with the sound of freedom! Happy Independence Day!
This trio of brothers takes #Wingman to a new level! Not only are they #USAF pilots, they've flown multiple deploye… https://t.co/FWEsDDFWni
The family of #USAF TSgt John Chapman is embraced by their local community at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, Fla… https://t.co/HRc95V33gm
#DYK: The 1st Aero Squadron was the first tactical aviation unit to participate in American military action.… https://t.co/FPijKQVfHp
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: An open letter & invitation to Col "Ned Stark:" Join my team & help us re-exam our officer promotion system -- as lead…
RT @AFWERX: AFWERX is using Ideascale to offer USAF Airmen the opportunity to submit their innovative idea for the Air Force. Join the netw…
#Airman uses data from the #MQ9Reaper to give firefighters near-real-time information as they confront fires in… https://t.co/tX2TSbYrSg
#Airmen from 105th Airlift Wing learn impact of their mission as this #Airman shares her harrowing tale of survival… https://t.co/40kBNQOz3d
Maj. Onier Alejandro-Villarreal & Capt. Rodney McIntyre, 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical techs, operate… https://t.co/YsMHOL2vV7
Only in the #AirForceFamily! The chances of being your sibling's replacement at a deployed location are slim to non… https://t.co/JRED65irZS
RT @AETCommand: “The squadron is the beating heart of the @usairforce; our most essential team,” - Chief of Staff of the Air Force @GenDave
.@MacDill_AFB #Airmen prove that in an emergency a wing commander can turn to augmentees for additional support.… https://t.co/Pgal3TEP3p
RT @DeptofDefense: Prepared for all situations in all conditions. @AKNationalGuard #airmen with the 212th Rescue Squadron at @JBER_Officia
Happy Monday! Let's get this week off to a great start w/ #AirForce #WIP! https://t.co/rlP3y4NQ9k https://t.co/OlzebNB1lQ
After toggling with the idea of joining the #military for years, she promised herself to stop waiting for life to f… https://t.co/7Gt22iqNlD
It's #NationalAviationDay & new aviation opportunities are here! We're partnering with @CivilAirPatrol to groom tom… https://t.co/Fe9b4jlmGw
These supply #Airmen work 24/7 to ensure there is no break in the mission @RAFMildenhall because #NKAWTGhttps://t.co/biE2BPXVe1
Every #Airman has their reason for serving. Read on as these #Airmen explain what putting on the uniform everyday m… https://t.co/ubeDmY1liq
For the first time in the 63-year history of Operation Deep Freeze, #Airmen from the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Sq… https://t.co/CdeyI4HjHT
#DYK, the #MedalofHonor is the highest award for bravery that can be awarded to members of the United States Armed… https://t.co/qei2LbbD1I