DVIDS – News – Digital Crusade | #itsecurity | #infosec

The United States military is the leading force of projected power globally, covering domains ranging from land and air to sea and even space. One domain that remains overlooked in news media is the world of cyberspace, home to a collection of threats—both foreign and domestic– combatted by a team of individuals dedicated to keeping our networks and internet safe.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency defines cybersecurity as “the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.”

“Cybersecurity is our best defense against the dangers lurking online,” said Eric Carter, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Far East’s (NCTS FE) Information System Security Manager. “In our connected world, the dangers range from close and personal (online presence) to political (critical infrastructure such as voter registration databases) and everything in between.”

Onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) and across the Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility, NCTSFE Security Operations Center (SOC) maintains our digital defenses. Their protection responsibilities range from monitoring and detecting network anomalies, all the way through to problem resolution.

“The SOC serves as the 24/7 eyes and ears for NCTS FE cybersecurity team,” said Marci Watanabe, the NCTS FE SOC Director. “We work with other cyber related organizations to provide the Navy with a comprehensive defense strategy for dealing with threats daily.”

Despite the staunch protection provided by NCTS FE’s SOC team, however, as technology advances, so do the threats associated with it—often veiled behind tactics that obscure one’s identity, or an organization, and sometimes even behind the guise of nation-states.

“Cybersecurity is continually evolving in response to foreign and domestic threats,” said Mr. Joel Beauregard, an NCTS FE SOC Cybersecurity Analyst. “The threat landscape is constantly changing, with new adversaries being discovered every week, and to reduce the risk of a malicious attack, users should always be selective with whom they share their information with.”

According to Beauregard, after the initial spread of COVID-19, many institutions rushed to utilize online applications like Zoom and other social media platforms to meet remotely with their employees without properly implementing security protocols. This sudden migration to cloud-based services allowed an unprecedented number of digital attacks to occur.

“Risks resulting from inadequate security include malware wiping or locking out your computer, attackers gaining access to your personal or sensitive information, or your computer being used to attack others,” warned Mr. Carter.

Personally Identifiable Information should not be shared via unsecured networks and platforms. It is recommended that users always use complex passwords, and never provide information that can lead to a physical attack, such as an address or travel plans.

“Understand what you are comfortable with sharing and make sure that the social media platform has the appropriate settings available to control how your information is shared,” Watanabe urged. “Adversaries continue to use social media to target individuals that have access to sensitive knowledge or systems, particularly military service members and their families.”

To continually ensure the safety of both the U.S. and service members globally, the Navy is continually implementing new technologies to counter any digital threats they come across.

Recently, Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021 was held, during which live, virtual, and globally integrated exercises spanned multiple fleets to refine and synchronize how maritime operations supported the joint force. LSE 2021 included several scenarios that tested technology and warfare capabilities associated with the cyber front.

“By exercising the full weight of our operational fleets, working together in a global mindset, we will truly harness the inherent flexibility of naval forces in controlling the sea and projecting power,” said Adm. Robert P. Burke, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe.

These constant and consistent upgrades in technology help the Navy identify any potential security shortfalls they may have and open other opportunities for training exercises to help strengthen their cybersecurity warfighting power, like the “Hack the Machine” initiative.

“The purpose of ‘Hack the Machine’ is to provide a venue to safely allow penetration testers and security experts to familiarize themselves with attack tactics, techniques, and procedures,” Beauregard claims. “This understanding of computer and or network attacks also gives security experts an advantage when it comes to identifying security gaps or vulnerabilities that may exist on their networks.”

Working closely with Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL), a science and technology-based institute sponsored by the Department of Defense, the Navy continues to test and evaluate the latest in SOC-related capabilities.

“Our collaboration with ORNL will result in the enhancement and productivity of cybersecurity warfighting capabilities throughout the Navy,” promises Watanabe. “NCTS FE’s SOC is also providing input to the Center for Naval Analyses to standardize SOC operations across the Navy.”

As technology continues to advance, so too does the Navy. Their ability to attack, defend, and project power throughout cyberspace relies on the help of many in the ongoing battle for tech supremacy.

“It’s only through the continued situational awareness and hard work of our ‘Information Warriors’ in conjunction with the attentiveness of our shipmates and their family members, that the Navy’s networks in the Far East are safe,” said NCTS FE’s commanding officer, Capt. Jenna Hausvik. “It’s their effort that enables the execution of the Great Power Competition preventing adversaries from gaining a foothold.”

For more than 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet’s forward deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families.

Date Taken: 11.01.2021
Date Posted: 11.04.2021 00:56
Story ID: 408659

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