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
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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