Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GPS IIF-8 Successfully Launched from Cape Canaveral AFS

by SMC Public Affairs

10/29/2014 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The U.S. Air Force successfully launched the Boeing-built eighth Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellite aboard  an ULA Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., at 1:21 p.m. EDT.

"I'm delighted with the outcome of today's launch. Thanks to the men and women of SMC, the 45th, 50th and 310th Space Wings; Boeing; ULA; the Aerospace Corporation; and the GPS IIF and Atlas V launch teams ceaseless efforts, commitment, dedication, and focus on mission success, we successfully launched the fourth GPS IIF space vehicle this year," said Col. Bill Cooley, director of Space and Missile Systems Center's Global Positioning Systems Directorate. "Today's launch demonstrates our commitment to users around the globe that GPS is the gold standard for position navigation and timing and will continue to deliver capabilities for the foreseeable future," he said.

The Boeing-built GPS IIF satellites provide improved signals that enhance the precise global positioning, navigation and timing services supporting both the warfighter and the growing civilian needs of our global economy. The GPS IIF satellites will provide improved accuracy through advanced atomic clocks, a longer design life than previous GPS satellites, and a new operational third civil signal (L5) that benefits commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications. It will also continue to deploy the modernized capabilities that began with the GPS IIR satellites, including a more robust military signal.

The GPS constellation is healthy, stable and robust with 31-operational satellites orbiting the Earth delivering improved and enhanced GPS capabilities to our warfighting forces and for the nation. Operated by U.S. Air Force Space Command, the GPS constellation provides precise positioning, navigation and timing services worldwide seven days a week, 24-hours a day.

Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space-based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

Media representatives who would like to submit questions or interview a subject matter expert about the GPS satellite program should send an e-mail to or call 310-653-2377.

Cybercom Chief Calls Partnerships Vital to Network Security

By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2014 – Cyber is the ultimate team sport, and it will take true partnerships between defense and industry to protect the nation’s information systems, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command told an audience at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here yesterday.

“There's no one single group or entity that has all the answers, nor is there one single group or entity capable of executing the solutions that we need to do,” Navy Adm. William S. Rogers said.

But, Rogers noted, it’s up to leaders in defense and the private to drive the cultural changes that will allow these partnerships to thrive.

“When you don't have leadership buy-in, you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back,” he said.

Cyber blurs line between public, private sectors

to the traditional view puts the private sector in one arena and the government in another, Rogers said, and the whole question of national security as something apart from that. But cyber blurs the line between those three groups, the admiral said.

“The cybersecurity challenges we are facing a nation, I view them as a national security issue for us,” he said. “And how are we as a nation going to address the challenge that is not going to go away?”

The hazards that defense and the public sector face in the cyber realm are serious and long-term, Rogers said.

“Every day there are groups, individuals and nation-states attempting to penetrate our DoD networks, and it's the same thing we're seeing in the corporate world,” the admiral noted.

Essential partnerships

Cybercom has three missions: to defend the department’s networks, generate the cyber mission force and provide protection and support in the event of attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure. Accomplishing this third mission won’t be possible without building relationships with the private sector and other federal agencies in advance, the admiral said.

“If there's one thing you learn in the military, Rogers said, “you do not wait until the day of the crisis to suddenly say to yourself, ‘Boy, I guess we better do some training with each other, or I guess we better understand what our partners needed and what they don't need, and what's effective for them and what is not effective.’”

The Defense Department already is working alongside other federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he said.

Rogers also serves as director of the National Security Agency. In that role he oversees infrastructure assurance -- that is, not just defending systems, but developing their standards, he said.

“We do it with the federal government, and increasingly we find ourselves called on by our DHS and FBI teammates to provide capability from our cyber expertise to support the private sector,” the admiral said.

Those types of requests are only going to increase, Rogers said.

“You can pick up a newspaper. You can get on your favorite website,” he said. “You can blog on whatever particularly interests you. You can go to whatever media outlet that you find is the best source of your news, and every day you will find something about a major cyber incident. This is not a short-term phenomenon.”

Industry concerns are legitimate

The private sector has real and legitimate concerns about the legal liabilities of partnering with the government, he said.

“We have got to help remove those very legitimate concerns and address them, because in the end what we have got to get to, I believe, is real-time automated machine-to-machine interface,” Rogers said. Before that happens, both sides need to clearly define in advance what information will be shared, he added.

The admiral said he does not want “privacy information” to be part of any information-sharing agreements, because that’s not the focus of cybersecurity.

“What we need to share with each other is … actionable information that you can use that gives you insights into as to what's the malware you're going to see,” he said. “How is it going to come at you? What are the indicators that you should be looking for in advance that would suggest to you that activity of concern is coming?”

In return, Rogers said, DoD should be able to help identify who is targeting the system under attack. “And then collectively between us, we need to share this, and we need to share it both across the entire sector, because … the insights of one can translate to the defense of many,” he said.

Congress is working on legislation that will protect industry from government intrusion, while enabling the government to partner with the private sector to protect industrial networks from attack, the admiral said.

“So we'll be working our way through that process, but the key to it is going to be dialogue,” Rogers said.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Massachusetts Man Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Computer Hacking Involving Stolen Credit Card Numbers and Altered Academic Records

A Massachusetts man was sentenced to serve four years in prison today for hacking into computer networks around the country – including networks belonging to law enforcement agencies and a local college – to obtain highly sensitive law enforcement data and to alter academic records, as well as for possessing stolen credit and debit card numbers. 

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts, Special Agent in Charge Vincent Lisi of the FBI’s Boston Division and Colonel Timothy P. Alben of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement.

Cameron Lacroix, 25, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty on June 25, 2014, to two counts of computer intrusion and one count of access device fraud.  Lacroix was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf of the District of Massachusetts.

Lacroix admitted that, between May 2011 and May 2013, he obtained and possessed payment card data for more than 14,000 unique account holders.  For some of these account holders, Lacroix also obtained other personally identifiable information.

Additionally, from August 2012 through November 2012, Lacroix repeatedly hacked into law enforcement computer servers containing sensitive information including police reports, intelligence reports, arrest warrants, and sex offender information.  In one such instance, in September 2012, Lacroix hacked into a computer server operated by a local Massachusetts police department and accessed an e-mail account belonging to the chief of police.

Lacroix, who was a student at Bristol Community College (BCC), also admitted that between September 2012 and November 2013, he repeatedly hacked into BCC’s computer servers and used stolen log-in credentials belonging to three instructors to change grades for himself and two other students.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Boston Division Cyber Task Force.  The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky from the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Bookbinder of the District of Massachusetts.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California has also filed hacking charges against Lacroix.  That case has been transferred to the District of Massachusetts and is before Chief Judge Saris.

Be Aware -- Connect with Care

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

10/27/2014 - 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.

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.