Cybersecurity Airman offers tips for protecting information

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Shannon Bond
  • 139th Public Affairs Office
Cyberspace influences the lives of Airmen every day, from personal banking to mission critical tasks. The president recently proclaimed October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and educating Airmen about cybersecurity in this environment is essential.

At the Missouri National Guard's 139th Airlift Wing, this responsibility belongs to the Information Assurance Office.

"We monitor our systems every day, including the software installed and devices plugged into computers," said Senior Airman Charles Kitchen, an information security specialist assigned to the 139th Communications Flight.

"No day is ever the same," adds Kitchen, who points out that the threat isn't just to the mission, but to the Wing's members and their families.

The threat goes beyond identity and credit card theft too, it's a never-ending operational security engagement. Kitchen's team is always watching for security deficiencies created by threats such as viruses, information leaks, phishing or personnel errors.

Beyond the mission critical issues he says, "We protect people [and their] information."

These threats reach into Airmen's lives in the form of personally identifiable information (PII) stored on phones and computers as well as social media. Kitchen advises Airmen to be careful on social media, not just for the unit but for themselves. "People are always surprised by what you can find on Facebook," he says.

The Air National Guard cautions its members to monitor what they post on social media and be aware that observers can build a clear picture of you, your family and your unit by seemingly random, unrelated posts. Kitchen goes a step further and advises Airmen to be as anonymous as possible.

Another recommended protection to the identity theft threat is to use the tools that the credit companies and banks provide to monitor your credit score. He adds that if he could give people one bit of critical advice, it would be to educate themselves.

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