Information assurance protects our network

  • Published
  • By Maj. Douglas Shahan
  • 39th Communications Squadron commander
Information Assurance has been high on the agenda lately. Our wing Information Assurance Awareness Day was a great success and I thank you for attending the discussion sessions at the consolidated club. 

Rather than repeat the same information you already heard, I'd like to focus on one particular threat to network security: antivirus protection. Mr. Joshua Neate, 39th Air Base Wing Information Assurance Office, offers the following thoughts: 

New viruses are created on a daily basis. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to exploit our network and are creating new viruses to attack us. Antivirus defense is mostly reactive. Software companies constantly scan the Internet for the latest viruses and update their software to protect users from new threats. Because a virus on one computer can spread and infect the entire network, antivirus software is critical to the security of our network. It is also important that every network device has the latest antivirus information. There are three actions that the wing IAO would like you to take to protect our network from viruses: 

1. Anytime you attach removable media to the network (government owned portable hard drive, CD or DVD), it must be scanned for viruses. Do this by right-clicking on the device and selecting "Scan for Viruses." 

2. Check the date of your virus definition file regularly. Your antivirus software should be updated automatically without your knowledge, but there can be problems with some computers. View your virus definition by double clicking on the Symantec™ shield icon in the lower right corner of your screen. Check the date listed at the bottom under "Version" and ensure that it is recent. If not, contact your unit IAO and let them know you don't have the latest antivirus updates. 

3. Finally, protect yourself at home. The Department of Defense offers free antivirus software for home use to all active DoD employees. This will not only protect your home computer, it will lessen the chances of you bringing a virus to work and comprising the network. Both MacAfee™ and Symantec™ antivirus software are available for download to CD or DVD from a ".mil" domain at: Both are capable antivirus programs; the choice of which one to use is a matter of personal preference. 

Remember, every user is critical to network defense and the Air Force relies on you to help mitigate vulnerabilities. Contact your unit IAO with any questions or concerns about antivirus protection.