By MAUREEN ROSE
Gold Standard Acting Editor
Beginning Monday, Fort Knox employees will see a new information assurance banner on their computer screens each morning—or whenever they log on for the first time each day.
Unlike energy conservation reminders, the IA banner will be a question that users must answer before they barrel on down the information highway.
Army Cyber Command is the reason behind the new banner. According to Aaron Ford, the installation information assurance manager, NETCOM developed a series of questions to enhance cyber security awareness and support the emphasis Army Cyber Commands wants on information assurance.
“This is a way to gauge an individual’s knowledge of information assurance principles and practices,” he said. “It will also help Army Cyber Command determine where more focus is needed in IA training in order to make it more relevant; future training modules will reflect shortcomings that were identified in the challenge questions.”
The hope is that the daily questions will remind computer users to be careful with the information they access on a daily basis.
The additional emphasis is an Army-wide directive, not one aimed specifically at Fort Knox.
“One of the biggest threats to cyber security are internal users,” Ford explained. “It doesn’t mean that it’s intentional, but unaware employees can do immeasurable damage without realizing it.”
People often forget, he added, that if you click on an unknown or unverified link or visit a questionable site on the Internet which results in an individual computer being compromised, you could potentially compromise the entire network.
“If you compromise an Army network, you could be compromising the warfighter and their missions,” he said. “After all, that’s what we all are here for, to support the warfighter.”
He also cautioned users to be aware of the level of scrutiny that exists on Army computers.
“It’s not just the local Network Enterprise Center that is chartered with protecting the Army’s network, there are many layers that provide defense-in-depth, but the most important are the individual users; we are all conducts to “Big Army.”
While some log-on banners in the past have just been for a specific highlight month or week, the IA cyber security awareness questions will probably be with us for a while, Ford said. However, the questions will only pop up on a user’s first log on of each day and the correct answers will be provided when people answer incorrectly so they are a helpful learning tool.
“Hopefully, these questions will help people be mindful of cyber security and raise awareness to its importance.”