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We all have a part in the Cyberspace domain

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- One of the most critical tools we use at work on a daily basis is our computer, and by extension the network services connected to it. Still, sometimes we don't understand its full capabilities and potential vulnerabilities.

We've become so dependent on our computers and network connections that when they go down or don't do what we expect, we feel like we can't even continue our daily tasks. Our reliance has truly made this enterprise network with all of its network tools and internet connections a weapon system. As such, it has potential vulnerabilities and is consistently under attack. This importance to our mission was evident when the Air Force designated cyberspace as one of its primary operating domains.

However, we are sometimes our own worst enemy. Accessing unauthorized web sites, sending inappropriate e-mail, using weak passwords, modifying or altering system configuration to meet personal needs, installing unapproved freeware/shareware, and copying or posting official information to unauthorized web sites all increase the risks to our network capabilities.

Training for all users in this cyberspace domain is vital. It is probably that time of the year for many of you to complete your annual information assurance training. Unlike previous years, this training is now part of the Air Force's "information protection" block for ancillary training. However, this change does not impact its importance.

As you complete your training on information assurance, I encourage all of you to fully understand your importance to the cyberspace domain. This includes understanding the role you play in defending our network from threats. Using your computer for official purposes only, not congesting the network with chain letters and junk e-mails, and not downloading or installing unapproved software are a big part of it.

Social engineering techniques are always at work trying to get you to provide information that could put you and the mission at risk. Although our base network defenses are able to block thousands of spam and suspicious e-mails every day, several do make it through. Avoid opening these types of e-mails and notify your client support administrators if you notice unusual network or e-mail activity.

So the next time you sit down at your computer, remember that you are operating a weapon system. Your activities and actions could affect the vulnerability of the network. We are all cyber warriors.