By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class(SW) Christopher Koons
Naval Network Warfare Command Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) -- A variety of speakers talked about ways to defend
against today's cyber threats during Naval Network Warfare Command's
(NETWARCOM) mandatory network security training, Feb. 23, at Naval
Amphibious Base Little Creek's theater.
The Chief of Naval Operations has directed all Navy activities to
conduct a network security training and awareness day no later than Feb.
28. He mandated the training in response to recent security incidents on
Navy computer networks.
"The nature of the threats we've faced has changed in the 22 years I've
been in the Navy, so we have to find ways to mitigate the new cyber
threats we face today," said Chief Warrant Officer Sheldon Malone,
NETWARCOM's information assurance manager.
At the training session, Malone discussed the main components of
computer security and why each is important.
"We guarantee smart users through training, just like we learn the
alphabet in school," he said. "We have people, processes and
technologies in place to implement our defense processes. It is an
There are basic steps each user must take to be aware of how to detect
and defeat cyber threats, Malone explained.
"Everyone has to complete their annual information assurance training,"
he said. "Unauthorized e-mail accounts can open up the system to
hackers--so avoid them. You need to keep your system password secure and
not write it down where it can be easily seen and you should not tell
others what it is. Make sure that when you leave your work space, you
pull your CAC (Common Access Card) out of your machine."
Malone also gave advice on network behaviors that should be avoided.
"You must not go to porn sites, send chain letters, solicit goods,
attempt to bypass access controls, introduce unauthorized hardware or
software, use personally owned software, upload executable files or
introduce malicious software or codes into the network," he said.
Kevin Williams, NETWARCOM's information assurance manager, discussed the
handling of removable media. He pointed out that thumb drives have
recently been banned, but that CDs, DVDs, and government authorized
external hard drives are still allowed.
According to Freddie Blaser, who is in charge of NETWARCOM's information
assurance services, computer safety at home includes following basic
steps such as: Installing anti-virus software, using care when reading
e-mails and attachments, installing firewall programs and making backups
of important files and folders.
Christina Harper, NETWARCOM's information assurance support
representative, talked about the importance of securing personally
identifiable information (PII) that is stored on laptops and other
"If you are handling PII, you must make sure it's not in open view and
do not share it with someone who doesn't need access to it," said
Harper. "Do not store it to a shared drive, and you must encrypt it if
you send it over your e-mail. Never leave it unattended."
Seth Gang, NETWARCOM's identity protection and management manager,
talked about the importance of securing CACs, which allows personnel to
have a cryptographic log-on to the network.
"You must have physical possession of your CACs at all times," said
Gang. "It doesn't matter what you are doing; if you go to the grocery
store, or you are in your home, it must always be in your possession."
Gang also talked about the importance of digitally signing e-mails, now
done automatically for all e-mails sent out from NMCI.
"You should only trust e-mails that have a digital signature on them,"
he said. "It lets you know that it came from a DoD-authorized source."
Rear Adm. Edward H. Deets, III, NETWARCOM's vice commander, summed up
the importance of guarding against the dangers posed in today's cyber
"We have to be as aware of the threats and inherent risks of our
information systems as we would of the responsibilities we have when we
go aboard a ship and engage in damage control," Deets said. "We have to
make people understand why network security is important and ensure that
we maintain our edge by not giving it up to somebody else."
Commands, Navy-wide, are in the process of meeting the Feb. 28 deadline
for training compliance. One of those commands is U.S. 2nd Fleet, whose
Commander, Vice Adm. Melvin G. Williams, Jr., has stressed the
importance of keeping Navy computer networks safe from enemy attack from
a fleet perspective is critical.
"At the operational level of war, our networks are essential to command
and control effectiveness from our maritime operations centers,"
Williams said. "The readiness and security of these networks is
critical, and helps to ensure strategic-to-tactical level war fighting
alignment. It is the responsibility of all hands to maintain the high
standards necessary to keep our networks secure."
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