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Cyber security: identifying and mitigating threats

By Lee Kiss | U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Information Management Office | Aug. 8, 2019


Thanks to ongoing training and genuine engagement with cyber security subject matter, most of us are well prepared to identify and mitigate most cyber security threats at work. In particular, phishing emails originating from either a real threat vector or as part of a vulnerability exercise remains the most common threat we are likely to encounter in the workplace.

Considering the fact that phishing emails have the highest return on investment for cyber criminals, our ability to identify and thwart phishing email attempts is incredibly important, and we should be proud of our ongoing efforts in this area. Unfortunately phishing email is just one of numerous methods that cyber criminals use to steal our data and commit crimes.

Here are six areas that do not always receive the highest emphasis, but can be even more damaging than phishing emails:
1. Physical penetration. Ensure only properly cleared and authorized people can access secured areas.
2. Dumpster diving. Shred all sensitive information and do not leave it unsecured on a printer or desktop.
3. Unauthorized portal changes. Pay attention to internal portals or websites to quickly detect unauthorized changes.
4. Social Engineering. Do not to provide information to people you do not know. Ever.
5. Rogue Hardware. Be on the lookout for unauthorized devices (new hardware, an unlabeled CD/DVD, wireless devices, etc.).
6. Anomalous activity. If you see odd behavior on your computer -- i.e. mouse moving, windows opening or closing -- report it.

Do's and Don'ts of Cyber Readiness:

Shred all documents with Personal Identifiable Information, For Official Use Only or other sensitive information.
Report unusual behaviors on your computer (mouse cursor moving, screens opening/closing, etc.).
Validate that only authorized personnel are allowed access to secured areas.
Remain vigilant of new equipment. If you see something new connected to your system, or you see a new device (like a wireless access point) in your work area, report it.
Keep all classified information secured and ensure only authorized personnel have access to it.

Tell anyone your PINs or passwords.
Write your passwords, PINs, or safe combinations down.
Leave your computer unlocked or leave your Common Access Card unattended.
Click links or respond to suspicious emails.
Provide information on systems, networks, building, or personnel to people you don't know.
Leave documents or copier; immediately retrieve them.
Insert unknown CD/DVDs in computers. If you find an unmarked or unknown CD/DVD do not insert it in your computer. It may contain malicious software.

Always remember -- cyber security only works if everyone is vigilant.