Social networking and webmail Threats

  • Published
  • By 23rd Wing
  • Information Assurance office
Since Air Force officials have begun allowing social media sites access as well as personal e-mail, simple security procedures, user awareness and common sense must be utilized to minimize security risks.

The intent is to allow access to more Internet-based capabilities for communication, collaboration and personal use. However, this access demands that the Air Force strengthen safety and security for the network infrastructure.

Social networking sites have already increased their security measures since inception, but this will not protect users from all threats. Many sites provide various tools for the user to protect themselves, but it is the user's responsibility to use these tools and maintain vigilance.

Even with security measures in place, users should still be aware of falsified profiles. For example, always make sure that you know who you are "accepting as a friend."

It's very easy for hackers to create a false profile with very basic and common information. For instance, the high school they have listed is the same as the one you attended so you accept the individual, allowing them general access to your personal information and your profile.

Personal e-mail accounts also require a high level of awareness. Unlike Department of Defense servers and gateways, personal e-mail accounts usually do not have a filter process already in place to strip away malicious videos, pictures and files; that responsibility remains with the user.

Personal e-mail accounts should only be opened for important business. Ask yourself if it can wait and if so, do not open those e-mails. Everyone has to realize that opening webmail and social networking sites increases the threat for cyber attacks on AF personnel and it's up to us to help defend against it.

Always keep operational security in mind while performing any action on government and personal computers. As Air Force members, we are a prime target for hackers due to possible information access.

The United States has multiple enemies, from state actors to basic hackers. Even disclosing seemingly small bits of information like a recall roster can have harmful effects.

All it takes is a single person to drop the proverbial security ball and critical information is in the hands of the enemy.