Friday, October 24, 2014

ACC successfully completes BlackBerry to Apple migration

by Lt. Col. Joseph Terrones
ACC Communications Directorate

10/24/2014 - Langley AFB, Va.  -- Earlier this year AFSPC announced an Air Force desire to migrate from Blackberry devices to a secure smart phone solution for the Air Force. Air Combat Command led the way and has now successfully migrating 100% of its 3500+ BlackBerry users to Apple (iOS) devices.

"It is a huge win for ACC and the Air Force," said Mr. Robert McQuade, Chief of Plans and Resources for ACC's Communications Directorate.  ACC enabled Apple devices with protected access to NIPRNet e-mail, calendar, contacts, tasks and documents.  Additionally, by employing the Corporately Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) model, ACC opened the gateway to a wide range of commercially available productivity applications that significantly expand mobile capabilities.

ACC deploys applications in a containerized environment that enables secure editing and storage of a variety of Microsoft Office and Adobe files. Although this capability is currently limited to the iPad, it gives the user a compact mobile platform to view and edit documents and briefings anywhere, anytime. ACC currently utilizes Good Technology for Enterprise mobile device management. The application resides on servers at two area processing centers and is co-located with ACC email servers.

"Not only have we given ACC users a device that will improve productivity, we've provided a platform that will unleash the innovation of Airmen and mobile capabilities," said Brigadier General David Uhrich, ACC's Communications Director. ACC worked closely with cellular service providers to obtain discounted service plans, special iPhone pricing, and account incentives that eliminated migration costs. Air Force mobile service vendors continue to be supportive and have extended their offers Air Force wide.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

USAF Langley Hospital adds 'Ebola-zapping' robot to inventory

by Staff Sgt. Antoinette Gibson
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

10/23/2014 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- Standing at 5 feet 2 inches tall, USAF Hospital Langley's newest staff member doesn't initially have a commanding presence. However, after five minutes, its impact has the potential to save countless lives around the world.

The 633rd Medical Group received a germ-zapping robot, nicknamed Saul, which harnesses the power of technology to kill off viruses - including the Ebola Virus Disease. Through a demonstration, Geri Genant, Xenex Healthcare Services implementation manager, shared with Airman the robots functions and capabilities.

Shortly after the president issued an executive order addressing the critical issue of Ebola, the 633rd MDG responded with cutting edge technology to protect the health of the Service members, their families and the community.

The hospital staff partnered up with Xenex, the company that created Saul as part of a response plan designated to ensure the 633rd MDG is equipped to handle viruses like Ebola.

"We are very proud to be the first Air Force hospital to have this robot," said U.S. Air Force Col. Marlene Kerchenski, 633rd Medical Group Surgeon General chief of nursing services. "Saul will provide an extra measure of safety for both our patients and our intensive care unit staff."

According to Genant, after patient and operation rooms are cleaned, the robot uses pulses of high-intensity, high-energy ultraviolet rays 25,000 times brighter than florescent lights to split open bacterial cell walls and kill dangerous pathogens commonly found in hospitals.

Although each room is cleaned by hospital staff wearing proper protection equipment and using cleaning chemicals, harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi still linger in some areas, especially those human hands can't reach. As an additional patient safety measure, the Xenex robot can then disinfect a room in five minutes and destroy Ebola-like viruses on any surface in two minutes, according to Dr. Mark Stibich, Xenex's founder and Chief Scientific Officer, as reported by CBS Houston.

"Xenex has tested its full spectrum disinfection system on 22 microorganisms, studying nearly 2,000 samples in several independent labs all over the world," said Gentant.

Saul is able to kill a single strand of ribonucleic acid, a virus similar to Ebola, two meters out in any direction, within five minutes at an efficiency rate of 99.9 percent, Genant explained.

"Hospitals that have used this have been able to bring infection rates down in many cases 60 percent," she continued.

Recently the surgical team was trained on this robot, with the goal Saul will rotate throughout the hospital.

"Our surgical services groups have already been trained on this, so we will use them as well as our service representative for a train the trainer type program, said Kerchenski."

Online vigilance helps reduce risk

By Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs, 23rd Wing Public Affairs / Published October 22, 2014

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- I received at least five emails last week warning me to secure my social media settings and be aware of what I post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Why? Do you not like to see what I had for dinner last night? Too many #selfies? Are photos of my dog eating a Popsicle offensive? (In my defense, he's a really awesome dog.)

No. The warning is because there are potential threats against Americans, including service members and their families, in our homeland. Brutal, violent attacks on innocent civilians have happened here before, and, sadly, may happen again.

However, danger doesn't always come in the form of 140 characters on Twitter. The metadata in your smart phone often includes times, locations and even GPS coordinates -- valuable information for our adversaries.

Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, says we are "personally responsible" for what we post online and that "the use of social media and other forms of communication that allow you to communicate with a large number of people brings with it the increased risk of magnifying operational security lapses."

But what can you do to protect yourself from magnifying these security lapses? Remember your operational security training, always remain vigilant, and, yes, double check your social media settings and practices. It's also important to become a difficult target. Will "checking in” at your favorite restaurant make you a target for so-called "lone wolves" supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant? Possibly. Will posting the dates of your weeklong family vacation make you a target for criminals to break into your house and rob you? That's more likely, so be smart about what you share online.

The Air Force reminds us not to post information about deployment departures, locations and ongoing operations. Additionally, you should always screen your followers and refrain from checking in at places or allowing your friends to tag you at locations. And although it should go without saying, never, ever post personally identifiable information online, such as your address, phone number or birthday.

As advised, I checked my personal security settings on various social media sites and found I have some housekeeping for my digital identity. Chances are, you do too. Should I delete my social media accounts? Should you? That is a personal decision everyone needs to make, but remember once you post something online there is no taking it back. It's out there for the world to see, regardless of your intended audience.

Personally, I continue to use social media because it is the easiest way to keep up with family and friends across the globe, especially when deployed. I will, however, routinely check my security settings and remember to be smart about what I share. This year, my birthday passed with minimal well-wishes online because I removed it from my profile. That's a small price to pay.

Historically, we learned "loose lips sink ships" as a way to remind ourselves of OPSEC measures. Today, this principle is even more vital because most people have the internet in their pocket.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "Fundamentally, public opinion wins wars." In a way, the battle against ISIL takes place in the realm of public opinion. Our adversaries showed how they can effectively leverage social media to instill fear in millions of people when they beheaded Westerners and posted the videos to YouTube.

As a public affairs professional, it is my job to help tell the story of American Airmen and I will continue to do this because I am proud of the accomplishments we achieve each and every day.

It's important for the American people to see us accomplish our duties competently, effectively and proudly – without putting the mission or our wingmen at risk.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SBSS flies past 4th anniversary

by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel

10/16/2014 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- Members of the 1st Space Operations Squadron gathered to celebrate the Space Based Space Surveillance satellite's fourth anniversary on orbit recently.

The event not only provided an opportunity for squadron members and leaders to celebrate mission success, it also helped fortify a new identity for 1 SOPS, which has transitioned into a space based space situational awareness squadron in the past 12 months.

While the squadron has commanded and controlled SBSS since it reached orbit in September 2010, it also gained a new SSA system, the Geosynchronus Space Situational Awareness Program, this past summer.

In June, Air Force Space Command leadership directed 1 SOPS to add command and control of GSSAP to its portfolio of SSA systems, which includes SBSS and the Advanced Technology Risk Reduction satellite.

"With leadership's decision to make 1 SOPS a space-based SSA squadron, we begin the work of truly operationalizing SSA to where the Joint Functional Component Command space commander will receive truly actionable information," said Lt. Col. Toby Doran, 1 SOPS commander. "Moreover, by gaining synergy among SBSS, ATRR and GSSAP, we can say that space superiority starts in 1 SOPS."

SBSS plays a large and significant role in the space situational awareness realm.

Built by Ball Aerospace Technologies Corporation and the Boeing company, SBSS uses a two-axis, gimbaled optical telescope to provide coverage of satellites and other objects in the geostationary belt.

It is one of the few satellites on orbit that look out toward the heavens instead of toward Earth. SBSS is a low-Earth orbit sensor that provides all-weather, 24-hour space situational awareness data to assist commanders throughout the military in detecting, identifying and tracking potential hazards in space. In essence, SBSS helps provide a better understanding of the space environment.

"The vehicle performs more GEO observations than any other sensor," said Capt. Jared Grady, 1 SOPS lead SSA space vehicle engineer. "It also performs a significant number of deep space observations beyond the GEO belt."

Grady explained that 1 SOPS analysts and engineers have continued to innovate during SBSS's lifespan, which has extended the satellite's capability beyond its original design life.

This year proved to be an important one for both the satellite and the squadron as 1 SOPS members rewrote the vehicle's tactics manual. This not only helps operators understand the updated vehicle, but informs the SSA community about how SBSS contributes to space situational awareness.

"When we consider a one-of-a-kind system like SBSS, we have no choice but to be innovative," Doran said. "There is no opportunity for material solutions, so we turn to our tacticians to get the most out of the system.  They have done it and our new tactics manual documents that innovation."

As the squadron opens year five of SBSS operations, the lessons learned and the experience gleaned from the system's performance will be invaluable as it embarks on year one of operating GSSAP.

"As we transition our mission sets, we're commemorating our success of another year on orbit [for SBSS]," said Capt. Brett Kasischke, 1 SOPS chief of operations training. "At the same time, what's new and different is we're doing this with a vision of ourselves as an SSA squadron."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

145th Airlift Wing Cyber Mission; Be Aware -- Connect with Care

by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
145th Public Affairs

10/20/2014 - CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Internet is part of our everyday life. We use the Internet at work, home, for enjoyment and to connect with those close to us. From smart phones to car navigation systems, to sending daily messages via the World Wide Web and texting, the use of technology in our daily routines is difficult to avoid. Our civilization has become technology dependent. To imagine our lives without this current technology would simply bring our daily routines to a grinding halt.

Since its inception a decade ago under leadership from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, National Cyber Security Awareness Month has grown exponentially, reaching small and medium-size businesses, corporations, educational institutions and young people across the nation.

According to Homeland Security, cyber security begins with a simple message that everyone using the Internet can adopt: Stop. Think. Connect.

Stop: Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.

Think: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact not only your safety, but your family's as well.

Connect: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you've taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

Being constantly connected brings increased risk of theft, fraud and abuse. No country, industry, community or individual is immune to the cyber risks that are out there. Whether it's clicking on a malicious link in a phishing email, downloading a malicious file or plugging something into a computer or network that we shouldn't, users of the Air Force network are the key to its defense.

From desktop PCs to top-secret server rooms, the U.S. Air Force operates more computers than almost any other organization on the planet. Keeping these critical tools up and running is the responsibility of Client Systems specialists.

How is the North Carolina Air National Guard defending its network?

"My job is to make sure that each and every server is being maintained to the standards that the Defense Information Systems Agency has mandated." said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Andre Corbett, 145th Communications Flight. "As a client systems administrator, my job, along with my responsible and knowledgeable team members, is to maintain a secure network so that mission accomplishments can and do take place no matter what the tasking may be. Knowing that my small piece of the large cyber world plays a huge part makes me appreciate what I do."

So when in doubt, throw it out: links in emails, tweets, posts and online advertising are often the ways cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it's best to delete or, if appropriate, mark as junk email.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cyber expansions create security considerations

10/15/2014 - WASHINGTON (AFNS)  -- Technological advances have put the world at the fingertips of anyone with connection to the Internet and during cyber security awareness month, Airmen and their families are reminded to remain vigilant when posting personal information.

"You have to assume that everyone is looking at it," said Col. Mary Hanson, the senior information security officer of the Air Force Office of Information Dominance and chief information officer. "Think: would my mom be proud if I put this out there?"

It's not just families looking at what Airmen are posting on social media sites; it's also employers and, more importantly, unfriendly sources, Hanson explained.

"Social media is a convenient tool but also a dangerous one," said Phil Withers, the Air Force Special Operations Command's deputy chief of information and cyberspace operations. "I think of using the Internet like I think of driving a car; it's a great tool but users need to be cautious."

According to Air Force Instruction 1-1, "Air Force Standards," even having unknown followers could constitute relationships that may affect determinations in background investigations associated with security clearances.

Security clearances are not the only things Airmen and their families need to be aware of in the cyber realm. It is estimated that about eight new users access the Internet every minute as technology spreads to developing countries. On average, there are 1 million victims of cyber-crime across the globe every day, and most of them are new Internet users who could have avoided the attack if they were more educated on cyber security.

"The goal of cyber security awareness month is to take steps to make sure you are not one of those victims in your professional network life and your home network life," said 2nd Lt. Kristoff Kalau, the 18th Communications Squadron officer in charge of cyberspace support systems.

There are steps Airmen and their families can take to help protect themselves against unwanted access to their personal information on social media:

· Set privacy settings on social media sites to restrict access to posts but do not rely on those settings to be a fail-safe
· Do not share information that you are not willing to share with the world, as some websites could leak information
· Do not post personal information such as your home address or phone number
· Disable locator functions on cell phones when not in use to avoid inadvertently giving away location
· Avoid posting travel plans and details of daily schedules
· Be aware of open Wi-Fi hot spots in public areas where information can easily be stolen from phones or tablets
· Do not publicize your association with military forces
· Be aware of unrecognized friends or followers on social networks

"The bottom line is you need to be aware of who is looking at your information," Hanson said. "You don't want to be a target, so be careful and be vigilant."

(Editor's Note: Erica Vega, Air Force Special Operations Command, and Airman 1st Class Zade C. Vadnais, 18th Air Force, contributed to this article.)

(Information courtesy of Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operating Location - P)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Safeguarding your digital footprint

by Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

10/9/2014 - JBSA LACKLAND, TEXAS -- Social media is a great resource for Airmen and their families to share information and stay connected to relatives at home and abroad.

Although many depend on these wonderful tools, recent events have encouraged us to re-evaluate our digital footprint to ensure our personal and professional information is protected from online predators and individuals who want to do us harm.

While social media use can be entertaining and informative, it poses potential operations security weaknesses, and Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, provides guidance on appropriate social media use by Airmen.

OPSEC and personal privacy concerns should be paramount when using social media. Military members have recently been threatened on social media by terrorist organizations looking for information they can use to harm military families and disrupt Air Force operations.

The following tips will make it more difficult for unwanted users to acquire your data through social media:

Be cautious when accepting friend requests and interacting with people online. You should never accept a friend request from someone you do not know, even if they know a friend of yours.
Don't share information you don't want to become public. Remember, once you put something out there, you can't control where it goes.

Disable location-based social networking, or geotagging, on all social media platforms. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, video, websites and text messages.

Avoid posting work or personal schedules and travel itineraries, especially deployment information and return dates for yourself, a loved one or a unit.

If you ever hesitate before clicking 'post', reconsider the content you are about to share. Our team follows the motto: When in doubt, throw it out!

Adjust your privacy settings to ensure your posts and profile information is secured and seen only by approved audiences.This last tip applies to any social media platforms you may use, but since Facebook is the most widely used, we want to share this detailed how-to guide on how to secure your profile. Check out this guide for more details.

Practicing good OPSEC and helping family members follow these security measures is essential to protecting personal and mission-critical information on social media. If you ever feel you are being threatened or you notice vulnerable information online, be sure to alert the social media platform's help center and your local OPSEC manager for assistance.