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Cybersecurity and Beyond: It Takes a Team

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WASHINGTON (NNS) (NNS) — Cybersecurity is an “all hands on deck” effort to ensure the nation’s networks and systems are protected and defended against those who wish to do us harm. It requires vigilant cyber warfighters from all of our military forces as well as individuals in government, private industry, and academia to defend our interests in cyberspace and ensure the operational readiness of the U.S. Navy’s networks and systems.

Cybersecurity goes beyond individual human behavior. In fact, it takes multiple teams to defend cyberspace effectively. We cannot afford inaction or complacency as cyber threats increase and grow significantly. While cyber adversaries use more sophisticated technologies and methodologies to find their way into our networks, data breaches, phishing, and social engineering have become everyday occurrences. Our complacency can be the adversary’s best asset.

The evolving nature of cyber requires us to shift from a compliance and reactive mindset to a more proactive cyber defense approach. The Navy uses teams of cyber warfighters, who partner and collaborate with our joint forces, government agencies, industry, and U.S. allies, to fight and defend cyberspace around the clock. They look for and assess vulnerabilities on Navy networks and systems, identify threats, and respond to cyber events and incidents.

Additionally, the Navy conducts proactive cyber defense and deploys a small team with a specific cybersecurity skillset to various units across the Fleet to meet cyber operational needs. This dedicated team is trained to enhance the Fleet’s cyber security posture, strengthen our networks and systems, and ensure resilience and operational readiness all year round. The cyber teams also train the ship’s force in key areas of network security, cyber incident reporting procedures, and recovery and mitigation processes.

Many Sailors and civilians might believe our information online is safe because we create complex passwords or we may even hide behind a firewall. Although these are valuable steps in the first line of defense, below are some additional things to consider – while at home and at sea – that will further enable cyber teams to better defend our networks and systems:

Be Aware of Your Cyber Footprint – If an adversary could (re)create your dossier, using your profile information from various sites as well as your online behavior, what would it look like and how accurate would it be?

Understand Your Cyber Terrain – Do you know all the entry points into your network, systems, or personal devices to include routers, ports, IoTs, and (public) Wi-Fi, and are they protected or secured?

Check for Weekly Updates – Are you vigilant in checking vendor websites for up-to-date information on vulnerabilities and threats related to hardware (e.g. routers, firewalls), software (e.g. Microsoft, Red Hat), and applications (e.g. Outlook, web browsers) that you and your agency utilizes? And more importantly, do you implement the necessary updates?

Create a Cybersecurity Culture – Is cybersecurity part of your workspace culture beyond the annual cyber awareness required training? (Be honest!) Do your family members, including those with whom you may share password information or devices (e.g. children), fully understand the how to protect your information and devices? Is cybersecurity an individual or a team effort at work or at home?  

Cyber threats are real, and cyber warfare continues to evolve and become more complex and challenging. Personal responsibility in practicing good cyber hygiene is the first step in cybersecurity. However, we must move beyond the individual online behavior to a more collaborative and team effort in learning more about our adversaries, their tactics and methods so that the Navy and DoD can better defend against them. We may not always have the answers. Therefore, it is vital we continue to partner and collaborate with our joint forces, government agencies, industry, and academia in order to defend cyberspace effectively and ensure the security and resilience of our Navy’s networks and systems.

Since its establishment, FCC/C10F has grown into an operational force composed of more than 14,000 Active and Reserve Sailors and civilians organized into 28 active commands, 40 Cyber Mission Force units, and 26 reserve commands around the globe. FCC serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command, and the Navy’s Service Cryptologic Component commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. C10F, the operational arm of FCC, executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders. In this role, C10F provides support of Navy and joint missions in cyber/networks, cryptologic/signals intelligence and space.

For news and information from Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command / U.S. 10th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/FCCC10F/ or follow us on twitter @USFLEETCYBERCOM.

 

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