Coast Guard mandates e-mail phishing training

Coast Guard mandates e-mail phishing training
Coast Guard mandates e-mail phishing training 

By Bob Brewin
Dec. 28, 2006

The Coast Guard is ordering all personnel connected to its network to 
take mandatory training on how to avoid fake e-mail messages that try to 
acquire sensitive data in a technique known as phishing and even more 
highly targeted attacks known as spear phishing.

Last month, the Defense Department mandated that all its personnel take 
spear phishing awareness training by Jan. 17. The Coast Guard is 
requiring the same of all Coast Guard personnel who connect to the 
services network over Standard Work Station III (SW III) computers, 
according to a Dec. 21 message sent to all personnel by Rear Adm. R.T. 
Hewitt, assistant commandant for command, control, communications, 
computers and information technology.

The message said all active-duty, reserve and auxiliary personnel and 
those who use SW II terminals are required to take the mandatory 
phishing training, which can be done online via the Coast Guards 
e-learning Web portal.  Contractors who use SW III workstations are also 
required to take the training.

The Coast Guards requirement stems from directives by the U.S. Strategic 
Command regarding DOD Information Operations Condition (Infocon) 
procedures and Homeland Security Department policy directives on 
sensitive systems, Hewitts message said.

Last month, DOD raised its Infocon status from Level 5, or normal 
operating conditions, to Level 4 in the face of continuing and 
sophisticated threats to DOD networks.

The Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO) barred the use 
of HTML e-mail messages as part of the raised threat level, because HTML 
e-mails can be infected with spyware and, in some cases, executable code 
that could enable intruders to access DOD networks, the JTF-GNO 
spokesman said.

DOD training documents require the use of plain-text e-mail messages and 
caution users against opening any HTML documents with attachments 
because they are potential sources of malicious software.

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