By Capt. Christine D. Millette
24th Air Force Public Affairs
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force officials will be
implementing changes in March to services available for use on all Air
Force-issued BlackBerry hand-held devices to bolster the security of the
devices. These Department of Defense-directed changes will be overseen
by security specialists in 24th Air Force, the operational warfighting
organization responsible for defending Air Force network operations.
"Just as physical security measures at forward and stateside bases are
constantly being improved to meet current threats, so also are cyber
protection measures taken to protect DOD information," said Maj. Gen.
Richard Webber, 24th Air Force commander.
The Air Force mission depends on the availability, integrity and
confidentiality of information systems interconnected through
cyberspace, officials state. Adversaries are constantly seeking to find
and exploit potential vulnerabilities of these vital information
systems. All Air Force personnel are responsible for safeguarding these
systems, and improvements to network security procedures help them to do
The following configuration changes will be implemented within the month
a) Users no longer will have the capability to send or receive text
messages with attached photos or videos. Text-only messaging will remain
b) If a device is being synched and its software is out-of-date, a
"Force Load" message will appear. The user will have only one
opportunity to decline updating the software. Any subsequent syncing
attempts will render the device inoperative until the software is
c) Users will not be able to download additional applications to their
devices over the Internet.
d) Most Bluetooth functionality will be disabled. The only Bluetooth
feature that will continue to function will be linking the device to the
smart-card reader cradle.
e) Users no longer will be able to connect their smart-card reader
cradle to their computers.
Air Force people who have questions about these changes can contact
their local client support administrators. People who notice abnormal
operations of any communications devices or equipment are encouraged to
contact their local information assurance officer or CSA.
"Mission assurance is the goal for which all changes are enacted to our
network and the services provided with it: to protect the Air Force, its
people, and its capabilities," General Webber said.
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