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Cybersecurity, OPSEC vital to mission success

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Every day, Air Force organizations and personnel are reminded of the importance of operations security and cybersecurity, and how integrating them into day-to-day operations helps protect proprietary and sensitive information from disclosure, espionage and exploitation.

Virtually every mission across the range of military operations depends on cybersecurity and every Airman is tasked to defend and protect the domain.

Even at home, OPSEC and cybersecurity together can deter those who strive to exploit information for personal gain.

“Twenty-first century warfare has quickly extended beyond the traditional domains of air, space, land and sea,” said Lt. Gen. William Bender, the Air Force’s chief information officer. “Cyberspace has emerged as the latest domain. From fuel pumps on the flightline, GPS link on weapons platforms, to the computer on your desk -- every system that operates in and through cyberspace represents a vulnerability to the domain.”

In the days of data breaches, phishing, hacking and social media, one can never be too careful.

“We are excited about this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month,” said Col. Mary Benson, the Air Force’s senior information security officer. “Cybersecurity is such an integral part of ensuring operations security in our Air Force; therefore, we are especially excited to share Cybersecurity Awareness Month with our OPSEC partners.”

Lawrence Wisdom, the Air Force OPSEC program manager said the month-long observance is, “a great opportunity to remind personnel of the relationship OPSEC and cybersecurity share in keeping personnel and the mission safe.”

“We are just as excited to be a part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month,” Wisdom continued. “It is very important our Air Force personnel know cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility and that their daily actions can make or break a mission and (possibly) put themselves and their families at risk, thus the importance of practicing good OPSEC.”

The actions below can help every Airman keep their identity and information safe online while improving the Air Force’s cyber resilience:

- Set strong passwords, change them frequently and don’t share them.

- Ensure work and personal operating systems, browsers and other critical software are optimized and kept secure through regular updates.

- Communicate with family, friends and communities about the importance of internet safety.

- Limit the amount of personal information shared online and use privacy settings as much as possible on social media.

- Be cautious about what is received or read online and the potential for phishing and identity theft campaigns.

- Scrutinize content before posting online. Will the post embarrass the unit or family, or give someone with malicious intent an opportunity to exploit the information? If the answer is yes, don’t post it.

Remember OPSEC and cybersecurity are everyone’s responsibility!

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